Didim Peninsula, on the Aegean coast of Turkey, has been experiencing a relatively slow but steady social and ecological transformation since the 1990s. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared this area a tourism development region in 2005; thus, major investments and developments are already planned. This may negatively impact the surrounding ecologically important ecosystems in the study area. Understanding and monitoring Didim's development is necessary to guide the ministry in promoting sustainable planning and management, as well as mitigating the adverse effects on the ecosystems. The present work aims to detect land use and cover changes of the Didim Peninsula between 1994 and 2005 by using satellite images and remote sensing and geographic information system technologies. Orthorectified Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (2005) and Spot 2X (1994) images are used in the object-oriented classification. The main analytical procedures include image preprocessing, image classification, accuracy assessment, postclassification change detection, and normalized difference vegetation index analyses. Results show three distinct processes taking place in the study area: expansion of artificial surfaces and arable lands; ongoing succession of the vegetation cover, mainly in the central and southwest areas; and transformation from a dense and vigorous vegetation cover to a less dense and sometimes discontinuous vegetation cover, mainly in the east and northeast. Identified trends may have significant consequences in terms of the response that ecosystems give to these changes. A strategy to promote sustainable land use management should be generated timely manner.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2