Distribution and Drivers of Global Mangrove Forest Change, 1996-2010

Nathan Thomas, Richard Maxwell Lucas, Peter Bunting, Andrew Hardy, Ake Rosenberg, Marc Simard

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For the period 1996-2010, we provide the first indication of the drivers behind mangrove land cover and land use change across the (pan-)tropics using time-series Japanese Earth Resources Satellite (JERS-1) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array-type L-band SAR (PALSAR) data. Multi-temporal radar mosaics were manually interpreted for evidence of loss and gain in forest extent and its associated driver. Mangrove loss as a consequence of human activities was observed across their entire range. Between 1996-2010 12% of the 1168 1°x1° radar mosaic tiles examined contained evidence of mangrove loss, as a consequence of anthropogenic degradation, with this increasing to 38% when combined with evidence of anthropogenic activity prior to 1996. The greatest proportion of loss was observed in Southeast Asia, whereby approximately 50% of the tiles in the region contained evidence of mangrove loss, corresponding to 18.4% of the global mangrove forest tiles. Southeast Asia contained the greatest proportion (33.8%) of global mangrove forest. The primary driver of anthropogenic mangrove loss was found to be the conversion of mangrove to aquaculture/agriculture, although substantial advance of mangroves was also evident in many regions
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0179302
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 08 Jun 2017


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