Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 157, Issue 1–4, pp 137–149 | Cite as

Evaluating the condition of a mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific based on an estimated leaf area index mapping approach

  • J. M. Kovacs
  • J. M. L. King
  • F. Flores de Santiago
  • F. Flores-Verdugo


Given the alarming global rates of mangrove forest loss it is important that resource managers have access to updated information regarding both the extent and condition of their mangrove forests. Mexican mangroves in particular have been identified as experiencing an exceptional high annual rate of loss. However, conflicting studies, using remote sensing techniques, of the current state of many of these forests may be hindering all efforts to conserve and manage what remains. Focusing on one such system, the Teacapán–Agua Brava–Las Haciendas estuarine–mangrove complex of the Mexican Pacific, an attempt was made to develop a rapid method of mapping the current condition of the mangroves based on estimated LAI. Specifically, using an AccuPAR LP-80 Ceptometer, 300 indirect in situ LAI measurements were taken at various sites within the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) dominated forests of the northern section of this system. From this sample, 225 measurements were then used to develop linear regression models based on their relationship with corresponding values derived from QuickBird very high resolution optical satellite data. Specifically, regression analyses of the in situ LAI with both the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the simple ration (SR) vegetation index revealed significant positive relationships [LAI versus NDVI (R 2 = 0.63); LAI versus SR (R 2 = 0.68)]. Moreover, using the remaining sample, further examination of standard errors and of an F test of the residual variances indicated little difference between the two models. Based on the NDVI model, a map of estimated mangrove LAI was then created. Excluding the dead mangrove areas (i.e. LAI = 0), which represented 40% of the total 30.4 km2 of mangrove area identified in the scene, a mean estimated LAI value of 2.71 was recorded. By grouping the healthy fringe mangrove with the healthy riverine mangrove and by grouping the dwarf mangrove together with the poor condition mangrove, mean estimated LAI values of 4.66 and 2.39 were calculated, respectively. Given that the former healthy group only represents 8% of the total mangrove area examined, it is concluded that this mangrove system, considered one of the most important of the Pacific coast of the Americas, is currently experiencing a considerable state of degradation. Furthermore, based on the results of this investigation it is suggested that this approach could provide resource managers and scientists alike with a very rapid and effective method for monitoring the state of remaining mangrove forests of the Mexican Pacific and, possibly, other areas of the tropics.


Mangrove condition LAI Ceptometer QuickBird Mapping Monitoring Mexico 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Kovacs
    • 1
  • J. M. L. King
    • 1
  • F. Flores de Santiago
    • 2
  • F. Flores-Verdugo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeographyNipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias MarinasUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaBaja CaliforniaMéxico
  3. 3.Instituto del Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MexicoMazatlánMéxico

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