Paper No. 261-2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
CLASSIFICATION AND CHANGE DETECTION OF LAND COVER TYPES IN ST. THOMAS, U.S VIRGIN ISLANDS USING LANDSAT MSS,TM, ETM+ AND OLI DATA
St. Thomas is one of the volcanic islands in the caribbean territories that is part of the United States Virgin Islands that is home to a thriving tourism industry. Since tourism has become the primary commodity influencing the island’s economy, St. Thomas has encouraged urban development projects to match the demand of foreign consumers. The regional impact of these rapid developments is unknown and requires in depth analysis to monitor its impact. In this study, we employ the use of Landsat’s MSS,TM,ETM+ and OLI satellite sensors to synoptically study and quantify changes in landuse-landcover over the last 40 years. The Island’s land covers are primarily characrerized as dry vegetation, wet vegetation, urban developments, mangrove, shrub grass and beach. Results from this study indicate that over the last 40 years, urbanization increased by 32.5%, dry vegetation deceased by 19.4% and wet vegetation decreased by 21.1%. Around 2010, urban developments and other human land use projects surpassed dry vegetation as the primary land cover type on St.Thomas. Currently, 44.49% of St. Thomas is covered in human land use. These results confirm that active land cover change is occurring on St. Thomas which is the leading stress on both terrestrial and marine environments.