Remote sensing-based assessment of mangrove ecosystems in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries: a systematic review

Marcela Rondon, Ewane Basil Ewane, Meshal M. Abdullah, Michael S. Watt, Austin Blanton, Ammar Abulibdeh, John A. Burt, Kerrylee Rogers, Tarig Ali, Ruth Reef, Rabi Mohtar, Frida Sidik, Monique Fahrenberg, Sergio de-Miguel, G. A. Pabodha Galgamuwa, Yassine A. R. Charabi, Pavithra S. Pitumpe Arachchige, Luisa F. Velasquez-Camacho, Talal Al-Awadhi, Shalini KingShruthi Srinivasan, Wan Shafrina Wan Mohd Jaafar, Jorge F. Montenegro, Eleni Karakasidou, Judith Pons, Maram Jameel Abbady, Adrian Cardil, Willie Doaemo, Midhun Mohan

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Mangrove forests in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are facing multiple threats from natural and anthropogenic-driven land use change stressors, contributing to altered ecosystem conditions. Remote sensing tools can be used to monitor mangroves, measure mangrove forest-and-tree-level attributes and vegetation indices at different spatial and temporal scales that allow a detailed and comprehensive understanding of these important ecosystems. Using a systematic literature approach, we reviewed 58 remote sensing-based mangrove assessment articles published from 2010 through 2022. The main objectives of the study were to examine the extent of mangrove distribution and cover, and the remotely sensed data sources used to assess mangrove forest/tree attributes. The key importance of and threats to mangroves that were specific to the region were also examined. Mangrove distribution and cover were mainly estimated from satellite images (75.2%), using NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) derived from Landsat (73.3%), IKONOS (15%), Sentinel (11.7%), WorldView (10%), QuickBird (8.3%), SPOT-5 (6.7%), MODIS (5%) and others (5%) such as PlanetScope. Remotely sensed data from aerial photographs/images (6.7%), LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) (5%) and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)/Drones (3.3%) were the least used. Mangrove cover decreased in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait between 1996 and 2020. However, mangrove cover increased appreciably in Qatar and remained relatively stable for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the same period, which was attributed to government conservation initiatives toward expanding mangrove afforestation and restoration through direct seeding and seedling planting. The reported country-level mangrove distribution and cover change results varied between studies due to the lack of a standardized methodology, differences in satellite imagery resolution and classification approaches used. There is a need for UAV-LiDAR ground truthing to validate country-and-local-level satellite data. Urban development-driven coastal land reclamation and pollution, climate change-driven temperature and sea level rise, drought and hypersalinity from extreme evaporation are serious threats to mangrove ecosystems. Thus, we encourage the prioritization of mangrove conservation and restoration schemes to support the achievement of related UN Sustainable Development Goals (13 climate action, 14 life below water, and 15 life on land) in the GCC countries.
Original languageUndefined
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - Nov 20 2023

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