Bolca, M.; Özen, F., and Güneş, A., 2014. Land use changes in Gediz Delta (Turkey) and their negative impacts on wetland habitats.

In this research, we investigate Izmir Bird Paradise, which is located on the coast of Gediz Delta (Turkey) and is protected via the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (International Ramsar Agreement). We determined land use changes in salty–alkali areas and changes in biological habitats by using remote sensing techniques and geographic information systems (GIS). We determined temporal changes in different types of land by using 1/20,000 scaled aerial photos of the research area from 1963 and 1996 and Quickbird satellite images with 61-cm resolution from 2005 and 2010. We noted existing biological changes in the same period by associating them with different land use types. At the end of the research, we studied changes to biological habitats in wetlands in coastal Gediz Delta due to the pressures of urban and industrial settlements and agricultural areas. According to the data, between 1963 and 2010 there was a ∼84.40% increase in urban–industrial settlements, a ∼13.74% increase in agricultural areas, and a ∼65.59% increase in saltpan areas. On the other hand, there was a ∼37.65% decrease in habitat and nutrition areas of biological variations (bird habitat, wetland flora, and fauna), a ∼41.54% decrease in coastal–sand dune–salty alkali areas, and a ∼30.63% decrease in swamp and wetland areas. As a result of these changes, numerous species in the wetlands have died or decreased.

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