Turning the Tide on Mapping Marginal Mangroves with Multi-Dimensional Space-Time Remote Sensing

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Abstract

Mangroves are a globally important ecosystem experiencing significant anthropogenic and climate impacts. Two subtypes of mangrove are particularly vulnerable to climate-induced impacts (1): tidally submerged forests and (2) those that occur in arid and semi-arid regions. These mangroves are either susceptible to sea level rise or occur in conditions close to their physiological limits of temperature and freshwater availability. The spatial extent and impacts on these mangroves are poorly documented, because they have structural and environmental characteristics that affect their ability to be detected with remote sensing models. For example, tidally submerged mangroves occur in areas with large tidal ranges, which limits their visibility at high tide, and arid mangroves have sparse canopy cover and a shorter stature that occur in fringing and narrow stands parallel to the coastline. This study introduced the multi-dimensional space-time randomForest method (MSTRF) that increases the detectability of these mangroves and applies this on the North-west Australian coastline where both mangrove types are prevalent. MSTRF identified an optimal four-year period that produced the most accurate model (Accuracy of 80%, Kappa value 0.61). This model was able to detect an additional 32% (76,048 hectares) of mangroves that were previously undocumented in other datasets. We detected more mangrove cover using this timeseries combination of annual median composite Landsat images derived from scenes across the whole tidal cycle but also over climatic cycles such as ENSO. The median composite images displayed less spectral differences in mangroves in the intertidal and arid zones compared to individual scenes where water was present during the tidal cycle or where the chlorophyll reflectance was low during hot and dry periods. We found that the MNDWI (Modified Normalised Water Index) and GCVI (Green Chlorophyll Vegetation Index) were the best predictors for deriving the mangrove layer using randomForest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3365
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume14
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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