A Study of Mangrove Deforestation in Belize from Haulover Bridge to the Sibun River Using GIS and Remote Sensing Analysis

Canto, Gregorio (2011) A Study of Mangrove Deforestation in Belize from Haulover Bridge to the Sibun River Using GIS and Remote Sensing Analysis. Masters thesis, University of Belize.

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    Mangrove forests lie along the coast of Belize and one of the largest concentrations of mangroves is located around Belize City. Mangrove forests in this area consists of three types which are mainly short red mangrove (Rhizophora Mangle), medium black mangroves (Avicennia Germinans) and tall white mangroves (Laguncularia Racemosa) although the existence of buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) can be found along the boundaries of wetlands, streams or swamps deeper inland. Mangrove forests on the coast of Belize provide estuaries for fishes and sanctuaries for birds. Mangrove forests of the study area are located within the Belize and Sibun river water sheds. The mangrove ecosystem in this area faces the threat of deforestation from rapid urban development, land reclamation, increase in tourism and natural disasters (global warming). Other major threats include changes in rainfall patterns which could affect distribution and species composition because rainfall regulates salt concentrations in soil and plants, as well as providing a source of fresh water for the mangroves (Neal et al., 2008). The area being studied lies between Haulover Bridge on the northern boundary and Sibun River on the southern boundary which covers an area of approximately 9495.52 hectares. The objective of this study is to use GIS and remote sensing analysis of December 27th, 1989, January 24th, 2000 and January 11th, 2010 Landsat images to verify that mangrove deforestation has been occurring over a period of 20 years. The method of unsupervised classification was applied to this study. Temporal analysis by using change detection was carried out to monitor change detection. Overall classification accuracy of 80% was obtained for 1989 Landsat image, 77% overall classification accuracy was obtained for 2000 Landsat image and 74% overall classification accuracy was obtained for 2010 Landsat image. Results obtained for temporal analysis by using change detection showed that mangrove forests declined by an average of 442 hectares (26%) over a 20 year period. During 1989 to 2000 mangrove forests declined by 207 hectares (11%) and during 2000 to 2010 mangroves declined by an average of 235 hectares (15%). Over a period of 20 years short mangroves increased by 86 hectares (5%), medium mangroves decreased by 857 hectares (49%) and tall mangroves decreased by 557 hectares (34%). This study shows that mangrove forest is rapidly declining and needs to be addressed urgently to deter further destruction on this valuable habitat.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Related URLs:
      Subjects: (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBE) Mangroves
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2013 14:05
      Last Modified: 07 Nov 2013 14:05
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1389

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