Remote sensing of Mangrove change along the Tanzania coast

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This article contributes to the understanding of the changes in distribution and total area of mangrove forests along the mainland Tanzania coast over the past decade. Mangroves are recognized as critical coastal habitat requiring protection and special attention. The Tanzania coastline forms a suitable habitat for establishment of mangrove forests. Mangrove forests are distributed from Tanga in the north to Mtwara in the south covering approximately 109,593 hectares from 1988-1990 and about 108,138 hectares in 2000. The largest continuous mangrove stands are found in the districts of Rufiji, Kilwa, Tanga-Muheza, and Mtwara. Comparison of data between these two time periods shows that the geographic coverage of mangroves has no dramatic change in the past decade. The Tanzania Mangrove Management Project and other closely related programs and efforts pertaining to mangrove conservation contribute to direct restoration and natural regeneration of mangroves. This study documents the changes of mangroves and demonstrates that remote sensing and GIS offer important data and tools in the advancement of coastal resource management and ecosystem monitoring. Application of geographic information technologies is critical for improved coastal resources management and decision making for sustainable development in Tanzania.

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Marine Geodesy