IOC Sub-Commission

for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Ocean Remote Sensing for Coastal Habitat Mapping (1996-2017)

The first remote sensing project of IOC/WESTPAC was “Remote Sensing for Integrated Costal Area Management (ICAM) Project (Leader: HUANG)”. In the WESTPAC-V (Fremantle, Australia, August 2002), it was reformed to be the “Ocean Remote Sensing Program (ORSP, Leader: H. KAWAMURA)”. Under the ORSP, two projects started; one was “New Generation Sea Surface Temperature Project (NGSST-P, Project Leader: H. KAWAMURA)” and another was “Red-Tide Monitoring Project (Project Leader: HUANG)”. At the Sixth Session of IOC Sub-Commission for WESTPAC (Nha Trang, Vietnam, May 2005), the NGSST-P was decided to be continued. The Red-Tide Monitoring Project was terminated and joined to the new project “Ocean Color Project (Co-Leaders: ISHIZAKAI and AHN). NGSST-P and Ocean Color Project made significant progress in the regional R&D. ORSP decided to reform the project to “Remote Sensing for ICAM” project and to alter the leader from H. KAWAMURA to T. KOMASTU, after organizing a session “Ocean Remote Sensing -from Satellite Oceanography to ICAM” in the 7th IOC/WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium (Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, 24 May 2008).

Coastal habitats having high productivity provide numerous ecological services such as foods, protection from strong waves through buffering effect, fixation of CO2 through photosynthesis, fostering biodiversity etc. However, increasing human impacts and climate change decrease or degrade coastal habitats. The WESTPAC region is developing most rapidly in the world. In the developing WESTPAC region, it is necessary to grasp present spatial distributions of habitats as a baseline data with standardized mapping methods. Remote sensing is one of the most effective methods for mapping. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provides non-commercial satellite images with ultra-high spatial resolution optical sensors (10 m), AVNIR2, similar to LANDSAT TM. Using ALOS AVNIR2 images it may be possible to make habitat map in the WESTPAC region. In a case that LANDSAT TM images at the target areas are available, these images permit to obtain habitat distributions at past time. Combining habitat distributions from LANDSAT TM with those from ALOS, it is possible to analyze temporal spatial changes in habitat distributions. Detected changes provide insights on alters in environmental setting such as human impacts and climate change. This project aims to develop mapping methods of coastal habitats suitable for the WESTPAC region to deliver our understanding of habitat distributions at selected areas to local people and stakeholders with the standardized remote sensing methods.

When this project can develop efficient and suitable remote sensing methods, they will enable all member states to set and monitor ICAM projects in each state and also WESTPAC regional scale through providing map of habitats and aquaculture facilities routinely. These visible maps serve for realizing sustainable development of coastal waters through understanding of stake holders around the coastal waters and also watershed areas.

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