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Coastal wetland ecosystems, one of the most important ecosystems in the world, play an important role in regulating climate, sequestering blue carbon, and maintaining sustainable development of coastal zones. Wetland landscapes are notoriously difficult to map with satellite data, particularly in highly complex, dynamic coastal regions. The Liao River Estuary (LRE) wetland in Liaoning Province, China, has attracted major attention due to its status as Asia's largest coastal wetland, with<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13234900">doi:10.3390/rs13234900</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/release/dm637fa7j5aarac3mqjrn4ucue">fatcat:dm637fa7j5aarac3mqjrn4ucue</a> </span>
more »... ve Phragmites australis (reeds), Suaeda heteroptera (seepweed, red beach), and other natural resources that have been continuously encroached upon by anthropogenic land-use activities. Using the Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC) algorithm and all available Landsat images, we mapped the spatial–temporal changes of LRE coastal wetlands (e.g., seepweed, reed, tidal flats, and shallow marine water) annually from 1986 to 2018 and analyzed the changes and driving forces. Results showed that the total area of coastal wetlands in the LRE shrank by 14.8% during the study period. The tidal flats were the most seriously affected type, with 45.7% of its total area lost. One of the main characteristics of wetland change was the concurrent disappearance and emergence of wetlands in different parts of the LRE, creating drastically different mixtures of wetland quality (e.g., wetland age composition) in addition to area change. The reduction and replacement/translocation of coastal wetlands were mainly caused by human activities related to urbanization, tourism, land reclamation, and expansion of aquaculture ponds. Our efforts in mapping annual changes of wetlands provide direct, specific, and spatially explicit information on rates, patterns, and causes of coastal wetland change, both in coverage and quality, so as to contribute to the effective plans and policies for coastal management, preservation, and restoration of coastal ecosystem services.
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