Evaluation of the Continuous Monitoring of Land Disturbance Algorithm for Large-Scale Mangrove Classification
Mangrove forests are of high biological, economic, and ecological importance globally. Growing within the intertidal zone, they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change in addition to being threatened on local scales by over-exploitation and aquaculture expansion. Long-term monitoring of global mangrove populations is therefore highly important to understanding the impact of these threats. However, data availability from satellites is often limited due to cloud cover. This
... oblem can be mitigated using a season-trend modelling approach such as Continuous Monitoring of Land Disturbance (COLD). COLD operates by using every available observation on a pixel-wise basis, removing the need for whole cloud free images. The approach can be used to better classify land cover by taking into account the underlying seasonal variability, and can also be used to extrapolate between data points to obtain more accurate long term trends. To demonstrate the utility of COLD for global mangrove monitoring, we applied it to five study sites chosen to represent a range of mangrove species, forest types, and quantities of available data. The COLD classifier was trained on the Global Mangrove Watch 2010 dataset and applied to 30 years of Landsat data for each site. By increasing the period between model updates, COLD was successfully applied to all five sites (2253 scenes) in less than four days. The method achieved an overall accuracy of 92% with a User's accuracy of 77% and a Dice score of 0.84 for the mangrove class. The lowest User's accuracy was for North Kalimantan (49.9%) due to confusion with mangrove palms. However, the method performed extremely well for the Niger Delta from the 2000s onwards (93.6%) despite the absence of any Landsat 5 data. Observation of trends in mangrove extent over time suggests that the method was able to accurately capture changes in extent caused by the 2014/15 mangrove die-back event in the Gulf of Carpentaria and highlighted a net loss of mangroves in the Matang Forest Reserve over the last two decades, despite ongoing management. COLD is therefore a promising methodology for global, long-term monitoring of mangrove extent and trends.