New mangrove forest mapping tool puts conservation in reach of coastal communities

New mangrove mapping tool

Until now, information from satellite imagery on mangrove extent and change was either global in coverage and not intended for the smaller areas typically covered by community-based conservation efforts, or — if focused on a local scale — required substantial and costly technical expertise.

As a result, local resource managers often lacked the detail they need to effectively plan for the conservation, restoration and managed-use of mangrove forests, and tap into payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs, and the wealth of climate finance available for forest and blue carbon initiatives.

Our new tool — the Google Earth Engine Mangrove Mapping Methodology (GEEMMM) makes this information freely available to coastal managers and covers the smaller areas they’re concerned with.

The need for a tool like this is enormous. Global products like the Global Mangrove Watch are not intended for local use. And the conventional methods required for local mapping involve a range of technical hurdles including data availability, data processing techniques, computing power and specialized software. All of this remains well beyond the scope of most locally led conservation project budgets.

The Google Earth Engine Mangrove Mapping Methodology (GEEMMM)

Paper, open access: