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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(1), 224-237; doi:10.3390/rs5010224

Advanced Land Observing Satellite Phased Array Type L-Band SAR (ALOS PALSAR) to Inform the Conservation of Mangroves: Sundarbans as a Case Study

1
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK
2
Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 7 December 2012 / Published: 11 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Biological Diversity)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1210 KB, 19 June 2014; original version 19 June 2014]   |  

Abstract

Mangroves are an important bulkhead against climate change: they afford protection for coastal areas from tidal waves and cyclones, and are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics. As such, protection of mangroves is an urgent priority. This work provides some new information on patterns of degradation in the Sundarbans, the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world, which are home to more than 35 reptile species, 120 commercial fish species, 300 bird species and 32 mammal species. Using radar imagery, we contrast and quantify the recent impacts of cyclone Sidr and anthropogenic degradation on this ecosystem. Our results, inferred from changes in radar backscatter, confirm already reported trends in coastline retreat for this region, with areas losing as much as 200 m of coast per year. They also suggest rapid changes in mangrove dynamics for Bangladesh and India, highlighting an overall decrease in mangrove health in the east side of the Sundarbans, and an overall increase in this parameter for the west side of the Sundarbans. As global environmental change takes its toll in this part of the world, more detailed, regular information on mangroves’ distribution and health is required: our study illustrates how different threats experienced by mangroves can be detected and mapped using radar-based information, to guide management action.
Keywords: climate change; SAR; remote sensing; conservation; habitat degradation; coastline retreat climate change; SAR; remote sensing; conservation; habitat degradation; coastline retreat
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cornforth, W.A.; Fatoyinbo, T.E.; Freemantle, T.P.; Pettorelli, N. Advanced Land Observing Satellite Phased Array Type L-Band SAR (ALOS PALSAR) to Inform the Conservation of Mangroves: Sundarbans as a Case Study. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 224-237.

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