Mapping National Mangrove Cover for Belize Using Google Earth Engine and Sentinel-2 Imagery

Jordan R. Cissell, Steven W. J. Canty, Michael K. Steinberg, Loraé T. Simpson
2021 Applied Sciences  
In this paper, we present the highest-resolution-available (10 m) national map of the mangrove ecosystems of Belize. These important ecosystems are increasingly threatened by human activities and climate change, support both marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and provide critical ecosystem services to coastal communities in Belize and throughout the Mesoamerican Reef ecoregion. Previous national- and international-level inventories document Belizean mangrove forests at spatial resolutions of
more » ... 0 m or coarser, but many mangrove patches and loss events may be too small to be accurately mapped at these resolutions. Our 10 m map addresses this need for a finer-scale national mangrove inventory. We mapped mangrove ecosystems in Belize as of 2020 by performing a random forest classification of Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument imagery in Google Earth Engine. We mapped a total mangrove area of 578.54 km2 in 2020, with 372.04 km2 located on the mainland and 206.50 km2 distributed throughout the country's islands and cayes. Our findings are substantially different from previous, coarser-resolution national mangrove inventories of Belize, which emphasizes the importance of high-resolution mapping efforts for ongoing conservation efforts.
doi:10.3390/app11094258 fatcat:nb66ffsgsvhtldlvicozgczszq