A transition from traditional mangrove remote sensing to recent advances: Mapping and monitoring

A transition from traditional mangrove remote sensing to recent advances: Mapping and monitoring

Fri, 15/02/2013 - 11:30

About the Presenter

Muditha Heenkenda

Muditha Heenkenda graduated from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka with Bachelor of Science degree. She worked at Survey department of Sri Lanka for few years as an Assistant Superintendent of Surveys. In August 2005, she continued to study at Wageningen University, the Netherlands for Master Degree in Geo-information Science. Then she joined University of Twente, the Netherlands as a lecturer in Surveying and Photogrammetry, and worked there until July, 2012. After that, she started her PhD program at CDU. She has focussed her research attention on 2D and 3D data acquisition from remote sensing images, spatial modelling and geo-statistics.


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Mangroves are salt-tolerant, evergreen forests, which create land-ocean interface ecosystems. They provide a wide range of goods and services which have been acknowledged for decades at local, national, and global level. For example: they provide habitats, spawning grounds, nurseries and nutrients for animals ranging from reptiles to mammals and birds. There is also interest in the role of mangroves as blue carbon sinks. 

The Darwin Harbour shoreline is covered by the most floristically diverse and one of the largest mangrove habitats in Northern Territory. These mangroves comprise 36 species out of the 50 species regarded as mangroves worldwide and cover about 20, 400 hectares. Since unlocking the many possibilities for increasing infrastructure development along the mangrove dominated shoreline of Darwin Harbour, ensuring the maintenance of ecosystem services and a healthy environment is one of the priority goals of the Northern Territory government. Although many studies have been done in the mangrove forests of Darwin Harbour to understand this valuable ecosystem, some knowledge gaps still exist. In particular, the government needs to understand which particular mangrove species are vulnerable to clearing, death, or changes to drainage due to urban developments.

Remote sensing (satellite and airborne imagery) has been using for decades for mangrove studies as it provides the only means to quantitatively assess mangroves continuously over space and time. This research aims to develop and implement remote sensing techniques for mapping and assessing the health of mangrove forests in Darwin Harbour. In addition, it will develop a statistically sound, spatial and temporal model that harmonizes development and conservation around Darwin Harbour to overcome challenges of mangroves monitoring.


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