South Africa’s nationwide socio-economic industrial development zone drive focuses on alleviating of the apartheid social ills legacy. To ensure sustainable industrial ecological development, land-cover monitoring is needed though limited attention has been accorded. This study, aimed at assessing the influence of East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) on land-use/land-cover (LULC) drivers and detecting LULC changes for 15 years over the West Bank East London. An integration of remote sensing with qualitative approaches was adopted to provide robust temporal and spatial LULC change analysis. Object-based classification was performed on the satellite images for 1998, 2007 and 2013. Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalised Difference Built-up Index (NDBI) complemented and validated observed land cover changes. The study reveals that industrial development has been a key driver for land-use changes in West Bank. The classification indicated that vegetation (5.97%) and bare land (-9.06%) classes had the highest percentage increase and decrease respectively. Water (0.02%) and bare land (-0.6%) classes had the lowest annual rate of change. Built-up and bare land classes varied considerably. An overall land-cover classification mean accuracy assessment of 97.24% and a mean Kappa coefficient of 0.95 were attained for the entire study period. This study offers the value of integrated methods in monitoring land-cover change to enhance informed decision-making especially in rapidly changing landscapes for conservation purposes.
This manuscript stems from the corresponding authors’ postgraduate study and who performed most of the experiments.