INVESTIGATING MANGROVE FRAGMENTATION CHANGES USING LANDSCAPE METRICS
Generally, investigation of long-term mangroves fragmentation changes can be used as an important tool in assessing sensitivity and vulnerability of these ecosystems to the multiple environmental hazards. Therefore, the aim of this study was to reveal the trend of mangroves fragmentation changes in Khamir habitat using satellite imagery and Fragstats software during a 30-year period (1986–2016). To this end, Landsat images of 1986, 1998, and 2016 were used and after computing the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) to distinguish mangroves from surrounding water and land areas, images were further processed and classified into two types of land cover (i.e., mangrove and non-mangrove areas) using the maximum likelihood classification method. By determining the extent of mangroves in the Khamir habitat in the years of 1986, 1998 and 2017, the trend of fragmentation changes was quantified using CA, NP, PD and LPI landscape metrics. The results showed that the extent of mangroves in Khamir habitat (CA) decreased in the period post-1998 (1998–2016). The results also showed that, the NP and PD increased in the period of post-1998 and in contrast, the LPI decrease in this period. These results revealed the high degree of vulnerability of mangroves in Khamir habitat to the drought occurrence and are thus threatened by climate change. We hope that the results of this study stimulate further climate change adaptation planning efforts and help decision-makers prioritize and implement conservative measures in the mangrove ecosystems on the northern coasts of the PG and the GO and elsewhere.