Mapping wetland characteristics for sustainable development in Harare: The case of Borrowdale West, Highlands, National Sport stadium and Mukuvisi Woodlands wetlands
Wetland ecosystems are under threat from agriculture and urbanisation, affecting water supply and quality in urban areas like the City of Harare. With the need to protect wetlands that remain, the spatial extent of the Highlands, Borrowdale West, Mukuvisi and National Sports wetlands was established. LANDSAT and SPOT Satellite imagery were used to map the spatial extent on the wetlands and to take note of the temporal changes that occurred between 1989 and 2009. Supervised classification was used to classify the images. High resolution Google earth imagery were then downloaded and used as baseline data for mapping the wetlands using the Cowardin wetland classification system 1979 and the Land Capability Classification system for wetness. Maps showing the physical characteristic of the wetlands were then produced. Results indicated that area under wetlands has been shrinking over the years. Using the wetland classification system it was found out that much of the area under wetland should not be used for any other landuse purpose other than wetland protection. However the study found out that urban expansion projects are currently modifying the wetlands. The Highlands wetland has been drained and road construction is currently in progress while a Hotel is under construction on the National sports wetland covering 287 012 m2 of the wetland. This study provides information on the current physical state of the wetlands, which can be the basis for wetland protection and management by policy makers and managers.
Key Words: Wetland, Spatial extent, Physical characteristics, Classification, Landuse, Protection and Management