Monitoring Georgia's Wetland Trends Using Remote Sensing
Kramer, Elizabeth, A.
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According to various sources of inventory data in 2002 there were anywhere from 4.9 to 7.7 million acres of wetlands in the state. Trend analysis from historic records dating back to 1780 and more recent records to 1980 indicate that during this time period Georgia has lost anywhere from 20-25% of its wetland acreage. We have been calculated wetland trends from 1974 to 2001 using Georgia Land Use Trend (GLUT) maps derived from Landsat imagery. Trends for these 27 years show that Georgia has converted 747,000 acres of wetland to other land uses at a rate of 26,700 acres per year. This represents an overall loss of 16.2% of the state’s total wetland acreage. The greatest loss of wetlands occurred in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Much of the land conversion was from deciduous forested wetlands to intensively managed pine plantation. The major conversion of wetland areas to pine plantation occurred between 1985 and 1992. The greatest conversion of wetlands to agriculture occurred in the period from 1974 to 1985. There was an increase in harvesting occurring during the period of 1998 – 2001, this may be due to the record droughts which allowed access to riverine areas due to low flows.