Mangrove forests are important coastal ecosystems and are crucial for the equilibrium of the global carbon cycle. Monitoring and mapping of mangrove forests are essential for framing knowledge-based conservation policies and funding decisions by governments and managers. The purpose of this study was to monitor mangrove forest dynamics in the Quanzhou Bay Estuary Wetland Nature Reserve. To achieve this goal, we compared and analyzed the spectral discrimination among mangrove forests, mudflats and Spartina
using multi-seasonal Landsat images from 1990, 1997, 2005, 2010, and 2017. We identified the spatio-temporal distribution of mangrove forests by combining an optimal segmentation scale model based on object-oriented classification, decision tree and visual interpretation. In addition, mangrove forest dynamics were determined by combining the annual land change area, centroid migration and overlay analysis. The results showed that there were advantages in the approaches used in this study for monitoring mangrove forests. From 1990 to 2017, the extent of mangrove forests increased by 2.48 km2
, which was mostly converted from mudflats and Spartina
. Environmental threats including climate change and sea-level rise, aquaculture development and Spartina
invasion, pose potential and direct threats to the existence and expansion of mangrove forests. However, the implementation of reforestation projects and Spartina
control plays a substantial role in the expansion of mangrove forests. It has been demonstrated that conservation activities can be beneficial for the restoration and succession of mangrove forests. This study provides an example of how the application of an optimal segmentation scale model and multi-seasonal images to mangrove forest monitoring can facilitate government policies that ensure the effective protection of mangrove forests.
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