Modeling the Change of Mangrove Forests in Irrawaddy Delta, South Myanmar

Shou-Hao Chiang, Chi-Farn Chen


Mangrove forests distributed along the coastal areas and river deltas in tropical and subtropical regions provide fundamental ecological services and habitats for a variety of wildlife species. Because of the conversion of mangrove forests to agricultural lands, the dramatic decline of mangrove forests in Irrawaddy Delta, South Myanmar during the past 30 years has been noticed and caused environment impacts, including habitat loss, reduction of biodiversity, and the increase of coastal erosion. This study firstly aims to investigate the changes of mangrove forests over the region of Irrawaddy Delta, using Landsat imageries during the periods of 1989 to 2014. Second, a land cover modeling tool, Probabilistic Landscape Simulation (ProLAMS), is developed and applied for modeling and predicting the change of mangrove forests. Specifically, ProLAMS adopts logistic regression analysis and cellular automata to assess the likelihood of future mangrove forest distribution. Two major findings are: (1) from 1989 to 2014, about 26.7% decline of mangrove forest has been detected; (2) ProLAMS predicts 16.8% decline of mangrove area from 2014 to 2030. In sum, this study suggests that satellite imagery and the proposed model can provide the prediction of future scenarios for mangrove forests. We expect this approach can be useful and applicable for other regions to assist ecosystem conservation activity.


Mangrove forest; Landsat imagery; change detection; ProLAMS; Irrawaddy Delta.

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