Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Land Use/Land Cover in Kandy City, Sri Lanka: An Analytical Investigation with Geospatial Techniques

  • R.J.M. Uduporuwa Department of Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Languages, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
Keywords: Land use/Land cover, Change, Kandy City, Remote Sensing, GIS


Land use/ land cover modifications in cities in developing countries in haphazard manner brings many detrimental effects to the both city dwellers and its environment and understanding the nature of this land modifications is vital for development planning of cities. The objective of this paper is to detect the land use/ land cover changes occurred during the period of 1994-2018 in Kandy city which is a world heritage site as well as the second largest city with a great national significance in Sri Lanka. This objective was achieved by using high and medium resolution satellite images and classifying them via supervised and unsupervised classification algorithms and finally applying post classification change detection techniques in GIS. Land use/land cover classification accuracy assessment also was performed to confirm the classification accuracy. Results revealed that the city has undergone a drastic conversion of lands up to 2003, has slowed down after 2003 and lowest conversion is after 2007. The foremost change within this twenty four year period is the substantial increase in built-up lands and substantial decrease in forested lands. Significant increase in built up lands within the period of 1994-2003 is evidently associated with the rapid increase in population in the city until 2001. Reserved forested areas in the city still remain unchanged and problem of forest loss is with the light forested areas spread throughout the city. Land use zoning regulations by Urban Development Authority to preserve world heritage and environmental status and the population shifting to the periphery after 2001 are the apparent reasons behind the slow growth of built-up areas after 2003. Facilitating new residential and commercial nodes emerging in outskirts areas of the city, continuing strict land use zoning regulations within the city, preserving and increasing existing urban vegetation cover, introducing green parking lots are some applicable strategies to minimize the land conversion further and to minimize the adverse impacts of the land use/land cover changes on the city.


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