Determination of impact of urbanization on agricultural land and wetland land use in Balçovas' delta by remote sensing and GIS technique

Environ Monit Assess. 2007 Aug;131(1-3):409-19. doi: 10.1007/s10661-006-9486-0. Epub 2006 Dec 16.


Because of their intense vegetation and the fact that they include areas of coastline, deltas situated in the vicinity of big cities are areas of greet attraction for people who wish to get away from in a crowded city. However, deltas, with their fertile soil and unique flora and fauna, need to be protected. In order for the use of such areas to be planned in a sustainable way by local authorities, there is a need for detailed data about these regions. In this study, the changes in land use of the Balçova Delta, which is to the immediate west of Turkey's third largest city Izmir, from 1957 up to the present day, were investigated. In the study, using aerial photographs taken in 1957, 1976 and 1995 and an IKONOS satellite image from the year 2005, the natural and cultural characteristics of the region and changes in the coastline were determined spatially. Through this study, which aimed to reveal the characteristics of the areas of land already lost as well as the types of land use in the Balçova delta and to determine geographically the remaining areas in need of protection, local authorities were provided with the required data support. Balçova consists of flat and fertile wetland with mainly citrus-fruit orchards and flower-producing green houses. The marsh and lagoon system situated in the coastal areas of the delta provides a habitat for wild life, in particular birds. In the Balçova Delta, which provides feeding and resting for migratory birds, freshwater sources are of vital importance for fauna and flora. The settlement area, which in 1957 was 182 ha, increased 11-fold up to the year 2005 when it reached 2,141 ha. On the other hand, great losses were determined in farming land, olive groves, forest and in the marsh and lagoon system. This unsystematic and rapid urbanization occurring in the study region is not only causing the loss of important agricultural land and wetland, but also lasting water and soil pollution.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Turkey
  • Urbanization*
  • Wetlands*