Mapping the world's coral reefs using a global multiscale earth observation framework

Lyons, Mitchell B., Roelfsema, Chris M., Kennedy, Emma V., Kovacs, Eva M., Borrego-Acevedo, Rodney, Markey, Kathryn, Roe, Meredith, Yuwono, Doddy M., Harris, Daniel L., Phinn, Stuart R., Asner, Gregory P., Li, Jiwei, Knapp, David E., Fabina, Nicholas S., Larsen, Kirk, Traganos, Dimosthenis, and Murray, Nicholas J. (2020) Mapping the world's coral reefs using a global multiscale earth observation framework. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 6 (4). pp. 557-568.

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Coral reefs are among the most diverse and iconic ecosystems on Earth, but a range of anthropogenic pressures are threatening their persistence. Owing to their remoteness, broad spatial coverage and cross‐jurisdictional locations, there are no high‐resolution remotely sensed maps available at the global scale. Here we present a framework that is capable of mapping coral reef habitats from individual reefs (~200 km²) to entire barrier reef systems (200 000 km²) and across vast ocean extents (>6 000 000 km²). This is the first time this has been demonstrated using a consistent and transparent remote sensing mapping framework. The ten maps that we present achieved good accuracy (78% mean overall accuracy) from multiple input image datasets and training data sources, and our framework was shown to be adaptable to either benthic or geomorphic reef features and across diverse coral reef environments. These new generation high‐resolution map data will be useful for supporting ecosystem risk assessments, detecting change in ecosystem dynamics and targeting efforts to monitor local‐scale changes in coral cover and reef health.

Item ID: 65390
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2056-3485
Keywords: Coral reefs, Machine learning, Mapping, Monitoring, Remote sensing
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Zoological Society of London This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Funders: Paul G. Allen Philanthropies (PGAP), Vulcan Inc (VI)
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2020 04:40
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370999 Physical geography and environmental geoscience not elsewhere classified @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410206 Landscape ecology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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