Assessing impact of climate change on Mundra mangrove forest ecosystem, Gulf of Kutch, western coast of India: a synergistic evaluation using remote sensing
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Mangrove cover changes have globally raised the apprehensions as the changes influence the coastal climate as well as the marine ecosystem services. The main goals of this research are focused on the monitoring of land cover and mangrove spatial changes particularly for the Mundra forest in the western coast of Gujarat state, India, which is famous for its unique mangrove bio-diversity. The multi-temporal Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Linear Imaging Self Scanning (LISS)-II (IRS-1B) and III (IRS P6/RESOURCESAT-1) images captured in the year 1994 and 2010 were utilized for the spatio-temporal analysis of the area. The land cover and mangrove density was estimated by a unique hybrid classification which consists of K means unsupervised following maximum likelihood classification (MLC) supervised classification-based approach. The vegetation and non-vegetation layers has been extracted and separated by unsupervised classification technique while the training-based MLC was applied on the separated vegetation and non-vegetation classes to classify them into 11 land use/land cover classes. The climatic variables of the area involves wind, temperature, dew point, precipitation, and mean sea level investigated for the period of 17 years over the site. To understand the driving factors, the anthropogenic variables were also taken into account such as historical population datasets. The overall analysis indicates a significant change in the frequency and magnitude of sea-level rise from 1994 to 2010. The analysis of the meteorological variables indicates a high pressure and changes in mangrove density during the 17 years of time, which reveals that if appropriate actions are not initiated soon, the Mundra mangroves might become the victims of climate change-induced habitat loss. After analyzing all the factors, some recommendations and suggestions are provided for effective mangrove conservation and resilience, which could be used by forest official to protect this precious ecosystem.