Investigating Past and Future Changes in Mangrove Extent in Myanmar

Ayeryarwady Delta mangrove change during the 2000-2013 study period as calculated from Landsat imagery.

Team Location: Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Chris Ferraro (Clark University)
Daniel Jensen (California State University, Long Beach)
Carlos Disla (University of Maryland, College Park)

Kenton Ross, Ph.D. (NASA, DEVELOP National Science Advisor)
Peter Leimgruber, Ph.D. (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
Melissa Songer, Ph.D. (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)


Mangrove ecosystems offer several significant services, including providing habitat and spawning grounds for a diverse range of species, protecting coastal communities from storms and other natural disasters, and contributing resources and income for local residents.  Currently, Myanmar is undergoing a period of rapid economic development which has led to increased pressure on the extensive mangrove habitat in this region.  In this study, changes to mangrove extent between 2000 and 2013 were estimated using Landsat 7 and 8 imagery in combination with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) generated from Terra’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) stereoscopic imagery.  Classification accuracy was evaluated using higher resolution ASTER imagery and local expertise on mangrove distribution.  The data provided by this assessment was subsequently used to forecast potential vulnerability and changes to mangrove habitat up to 2030.  A Random Forests Model or Multi-layered Perceptron (TBD) was used for land-cover classification and vulnerability forecasting. Forest managers in Myanmar will be able to use the mangrove change maps and forecasts to evaluate current policies and focus future ones to maximize effectiveness.

Return to the Summer 2013 VPS page.