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An assessment of commonly employed satellite-based remote sensors for mapping mangrove species in Mexico using an NDVI-based classification scheme

Valderrama-Landeros, L., Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M., Flores-Verdugo, F.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2018 v.190 no.1 pp. 23
Laguncularia racemosa, Landsat, Rhizophora mangle, coasts, islands, lowland forests, mangrove forests, mangroves, remote sensing, Mexico
Optimizing the classification accuracy of a mangrove forest is of utmost importance for conservation practitioners. Mangrove forest mapping using satellite-based remote sensing techniques is by far the most common method of classification currently used given the logistical difficulties of field endeavors in these forested wetlands. However, there is now an abundance of options from which to choose in regards to satellite sensors, which has led to substantially different estimations of mangrove forest location and extent with particular concern for degraded systems. The objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of mangrove forest classification using different remotely sensed data sources (i.e., Landsat-8, SPOT-5, Sentinel-2, and WorldView-2) for a system located along the Pacific coast of Mexico. Specifically, we examined a stressed semiarid mangrove forest which offers a variety of conditions such as dead areas, degraded stands, healthy mangroves, and very dense mangrove island formations. The results indicated that Landsat-8 (30 m per pixel) had the lowest overall accuracy at 64% and that WorldView-2 (1.6 m per pixel) had the highest at 93%. Moreover, the SPOT-5 and the Sentinel-2 classifications (10 m per pixel) were very similar having accuracies of 75 and 78%, respectively. In comparison to WorldView-2, the other sensors overestimated the extent of Laguncularia racemosa and underestimated the extent of Rhizophora mangle. When considering such type of sensors, the higher spatial resolution can be particularly important in mapping small mangrove islands that often occur in degraded mangrove systems.