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Assessment of mangrove vegetation based on remote sensing and ground-truth measurements at Tumpat, Kelantan Delta, East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia

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The lower reaches of River Kelantan form a vast delta (1200 ha) consisting of bay, mangrove and estuary on the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The present study was conducted to assess the mangrove vegetation at Tumpat based on ground-truth and remote sensing measurements. The mangroves are composed of several species including Nypa fruticans, Sonneratia caseolaris, Avicennia alba, Rhizophora apiculata, R. mucronata and Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, in order of dominance. The point-centred quarter method (PCQM) was used to estimate the stem density (number of stems/0.1 ha) and basal area (m2/0.1 ha) at selected sites on the ground. Recent high-resolution multispectral satellite data (QuickBird 2006, 2.4 m spatial resolution of the multispectral image) were used to produce land-use/cover classification and Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) mapping for the delta. The area statistics reveal that mangroves occupy 339.6 ha, while coconut plantation dominates the vegetation (715.2 ha), followed by settlements (621.6 ha), sandbar (148.4 ha), agriculture (89 ha) and aquaculture (42.7 ha). Although the relationship between the spectral indices and dendrometric parameters was weak, we found a very high significance between the (mean) NDVI and stem density (p = 1.3 × 10-8). The sites with young/growing and also mature trees with lush green cover showed greater NDVI values (0.40-0.68) indicating healthy vegetation, while mature forests under environmental stress due to sand deposition and/or poor tidal inundation showed low NDVI values (0.38-0.47) and an unhealthy situation. Overall, a combination of ground survey and remote sensing provided valuable information for the assessment of mangrove vegetation types (i.e. young/growing or mature forest) and their health in Tumpat, Kelantan Delta.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Oceanography, University Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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