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Eastern Geographic Science Center

Description of Current Projects

Mangrove Monitoring & Carbon Assessment

Principal Investigator: Elitsa Peneva-Reed, U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center

The Science Issue and Relevance
Location of permanent sampling plots for measuring AGB J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Even though mangrove ecosystems provide various ecological and economic services such as coastal erosion protection, water filtration, and breeding grounds for fish, mangroves belong to the most threatened and vulnerable ecosystems worldwide and experienced a dramatic decline during the last half century. The overall goal of this project is to assess mangrove vulnerability to climate change and land use change and to understand effects of the changes on mangrove carbon storage and sequestration.

Information generated from this project will help answer questions such as:
  • How are the structure, density, and health of mangrove forests changing?
  • What management interventions are needed to maintain or improve forest vigor and health?
Methodology for Addressing the Issue
The study components include: 1) Remote Sensing data collection, 2) Data analysis (classification and change detection implementing VCT and LCMAP techniques) and accuracy assessment, and 3) Permanent plot establishment for aboveground biomass (AGB) and future carbon sequestration estimates. Ding Darling NWR is being used as a pilot project and methodology and lessons learned will be applied to other areas. A similar project is being carried out on the island of Pohnpei, FSM in collaboration with USFWS as well as the Micronesia Conservation Trust and the Conservation Society of Pohnpei.

Future Steps
Research results will be useful for managers to identify and reduce the vulnerability of mangroves (and possibly other coastal wetland types) and their carbon stocks to climate change. Mangrove biomass will be measured using species-specific allometric equations. Afterward, mangroves above ground carbon (AGC) will be obtained and carbon stock of each mangrove stand will be summed to obtain the total mangrove AGC in each sample plot. Each pixel in Landsat observations will be utilized to extrapolate the sample point biomass observations.

The products of this work are anticipated to be:
  • Annual maps of mangrove extent and change
  • Conference presentations and publications
  • AGB estimates over the mangrove area within Ding Darling NWR

Key Words: Mangrove Monitoring, Above Ground Carbon Estimates, Remote Sensing & GIS, Species-specific allometric equations

Contact Information:
Elitsa Peneva-Reed

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