MAMAFOREST - Managing Mangrove Forests with Optical and Radar Environmental SaTellites

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Context and objectives

For mangrove forests, the development of robust remote sensing methods for mapping and monitoring their biophysical properties is becoming increasingly important as anthropogenic processes (e.g., pollution) and events (e.g., clearance) lead to significant losses across their range.  For maximum benefit however, focus needs to be on the integration of temporal data from both optical and radar sensors as each provides unique but complementary information on mangroves. The main goal of this project therefore is to establish how the use of radar and optical remote sensing data can be optimised for quantifying the changing extent, structure, species composition and above ground biomass (AGB) of mangroves, with specific focus on the expansive mangroves within the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR) in Malaysia.  This area has been silviculturally managed since 1902 and the areal extent of mangroves has changed very little. Most of the silviculture takes place in the productive forest, whereas several types of protected forest constitute the protective forest. Time series of optical and radar remote sensing data will be used to evaluate the viability and sustainability of logging. Comparisons will be made between productive and protective forests.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

• Assessment of the sustainability of the logging activity in Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve based on a time-series analysis of Landsat and Sentinel-2 sensor data and radar (ALOS PALSAR, Sentinel-1 SAR)
• Integration of optical and radar data to classify mangrove dominant species
• Comparison of time-series of JERS-1 SAR, ALOS PALSAR and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 to assess trends in AGB as a function of L-band SAR backscatter
• Generation of height surfaces using the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) and both the Tandem-X and Sentinel-1 data (linked to ICESAT GLAS) for specific points in time

Expected products and services

• Classifications and derived products of the MMFR (based on historic Landsat, US military airborne imagery, Sentinel 2 and radar imagery)
• Database with associated data collected on species composition, structure and AGB.
• Level 3 processed products of biophysical parameters (height metrics and AGB) for the MMFR based on historical SAR data, Sentinel-1a SAR and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 data
• Maps of dominant species composition based on L-band SAR, Sentinel 2 and Landsat
• Allometric equations for selected mangrove species
• Spatio-Temporal analysis of the Mangrove forest biomass evolution in relation to the productive vs protective zones of the forest
• Report for the Forestry Department of Perak with key findings

Ecologist, remote sensing scientist, State Forestry Department of Perak, policy makers, mangrove scientist