Monitoring mangrove forests: are we taking full advantage of technology?

Younes Cárdenas, Nicolás, Joyce, Karen E., and Maier, Stefan W. (2017) Monitoring mangrove forests: are we taking full advantage of technology? International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 63. pp. 1-14.

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Mangrove forests grow in the estuaries of 124 tropical countries around the world. Because in-situ monitoring of mangroves is difficult and time-consuming, remote sensing technologies are commonly used to monitor these ecosystems. Landsat satellites have provided regular and systematic images of mangrove ecosystems for over 30 years, yet researchers often cite budget and infrastructure constraints to justify the underuse this resource. Since 2001, over 50 studies have used Landsat or ASTER imagery for mangrove monitoring, and most focus on the spatial extent of mangroves, rarely using more than five images. Even after the Landsat archive was made free for public use, few studies used more than five images, despite the clear advantages of using more images (e.g. lower signal-to-noise ratios). The main argument of this paper is that, with freely available imagery and high performance computing facilities around the world, it is up to researchers to acquire the necessary programming skills to use these resources. Programming skills allow researchers to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as image acquisition and processing, consequently reducing up to 60% of the time dedicated to these activities. These skills also help scientists to review and re-use algorithms, hence making mangrove research more agile. This paper contributes to the debate on why scientists need to learn to program, not only to challenge prevailing approaches to mangrove research, but also to expand the temporal and spatial extents that are commonly used for mangrove research.

Item ID: 49902
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-826X
Keywords: long-term monitoring, mangroves, tides, automation, landsat, ASTER, programming, remote sensing
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Younes Cárdenas, Nicolás (2020) Examining spatiotemporal changes in the phenology of Australian mangroves using satellite imagery. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: NIESGI Cia. Ltda., James Cook University Postgraduate Research Fellowship
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2017 22:00
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4013 Geomatic engineering > 401304 Photogrammetry and remote sensing @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960902 Coastal and Estuarine Land Management @ 40%
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