Mangroves on the Move: Assessing Coastal Ecosystem Productivity in Colombia

Project Team: Coastal Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team
Team Location: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Mangrove forest cover change in the region surrounding the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta from 1986 through 2014. Image Credit: Coastal Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team.

Mangrove forest cover change in the region surrounding the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta from 1986 through 2014. Image Credit: Coastal Colombia Ecological Forecasting Team.

Authors:
Daniel Jensen (California State University, Long Beach)
Scott Barron (University of California, Los Angeles)
Gwen Miller (California State University, Monterey Bay)
Steve Flores (University of California, Los Angeles)

Mentors/Advisors:
Benjamin Holt (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Dr. Marc Simard (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Abstract:
Colombia’s coastline is home to widespread mangrove forests that are economically and ecologically important to the country’s well-being. Mangroves are severely threatened by direct human activity and climate change, causing significant deforestation and degradation in recent years. Using NASA Earth observations, including Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data, changes in mangrove extent were mapped in six intervals from 1986 to 2014. This analysis was done using a combination of open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) software and data processing tools, including Quantum GIS, Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS), and R statistical program. The resultant land-cover and deforestation data were then combined with watershed boundaries and used as inputs into the Mangal model to assess and predict the mangrove forests’ ecosystem productivity.

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