Urban settlements account for only two percent of the Earth’s land surface, however, over half of the world’s population resides in cities (United Nations, 2001). High population density in urban areas has resulted in a large-scale modification of the environment in urban fringe. Urbanization is a complex process of converting urban fringe and rural land to urban land uses and has caused various impacts on ecosystem structure, function and dynamics (Luck and Wu, 2002). On one hand, the high rate of urbanization causes high density in settlement limited areas of cities, on the other hand, it costs increases to society due to the resulting unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization and land use with the skirts, especially in urban fringe of natural habitat/ landscape pieces and the corrupted use of urban areas without taking into account natural law or the ecological balance (Aydemir et al., 1993). Suburban, urban fringe and rural development are a leading cause of biodiversity loss and natural resource degradation in Trabzon province. The detection and analysis of land use changes in the urban environment is an important issue in planning. Remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) are considered as appropriate and efficient techniques for this type of studies. These techniques were used to investigate the effects of urbanization on ecosystem structure (landscape) and to quantify urban growth of Trabzon urban area. Changes of landscape pattern from 1987 to 2008 were analyzed by FRAGSTATS with four metrics, indicating that the diversity and landscape fragmentation are positively related to the degree of urbanization. The study showed that the percentage of urbanization in Trabzon Centrum increased from 4.72 in 1987 to 6.27 in 2008 based on supervised classification of images. Cumulative urbanization accounted for 1.55% of the whole area of Trabzon (254 ha) and 32.8% of the settlement area of the Trabzon from 1987 to 2008. This translates to an annual rate of urbanization of 1.35% between 1987 and 2008.This study demonstrated additional insights into landscape change by integrating the spatial and the temporal perspectives and targeting the forms of residential developments towards urban fringe.
Keywords: GIS, land use/land cover change, remote sensing, urban fringe, fragmentation, urbanization.
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