Mapping and monitoring of South Asian Mangroves using Google Earth Engine (1970 - 2014)

Authors: Shuvankar Ghosh*, United States Environmental Protection Agengy, Chandra P. Giri, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Topics: Remote Sensing, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Marine and Coastal Resources
Keywords: Mangrove, South Asia, Google Earth Engine, Change Analysis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Stones Throw 3 - Mica, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Mangrove forests of south Asia provide critical ecological as well as societal services to the coastal community, such as protection from storms and tidal waves, controlling soil erosion, trapping nutrients, regulating micro-climate and groundwater dynamics as well as commercial activities such as hunting, fishing and recreation. However, both natural drivers along with developmental activities has resulted in steady loss of critical mangrove habitats. Conservation and sustainable use of mangroves require detailed information on the current and historical extents of these habitats. However, information on temporal changes in the mangrove habitats of south Asia have been very limited. This study attempts to highlight the temporal changes in the mangrove habitats of south Asia, over a period of almost 40 years. Landsat images archived in Google Earth Engine was utilized to map mangrove extents over time (1970, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2014). Images were classified using Random Forest supervised classification technique in Google Earth Engine. Temporary and permanent changes in mangrove habitats are identified and major causes of mangrove change are studied at site specific level. Finally, quantitative estimates of mangrove habitat gain/loss were presented. The study develops a novel methodology to monitor and analyze changes in mangrove habitats, using an open sourced cloud platform such as Google Earth Engine. The information generated through this study will be crucial to understand the efficacy of previous conservation efforts as well as for understanding two major global ecosystem goods and services of mangroves viz. carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation.

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