Distribution of Mangrove Habitats of Grenada and the Grenadines (2015)
Mangroves of Grenada and the Grenadines represent significant habitat within the regional context of the Eastern Caribbean. Losses of mangroves through storms, development, and climate change have negative impacts on critical ecosystem services. Estimates of mangrove area exist in the literature but do not fully reflect current conditions, effects of disturbance, and results of recovery; they also do not differentiate these areas by community types. Advances in imagery and remote sensing approaches allow higher-resolution resource mapping. We used remote sensing, image
interpretation, and field verification techniques to provide current estimates of the extent and distribution of mangroves.
Our results provide the greatest areal total of mangroves to date. Despite loss of mangroves in the recent past, we accounted for approximately 15% more hectares than estimated in the 1990s and 28% more than predicted by hypothetical models for 2005. The discrepancies between prior and current mapped areas are likely due to differences in mapping precision and incomplete surveys that omitted the smaller Grenadine islands but also reflect actual increases in cover from natural recovery and recruitment following historic storm events.
Basin mangroves represented the greatest area, while riverine and scrub contributed the least. Fringe mangroves were moderately abundant but were composed of small, isolated patches with high vulnerability to coastal storms and limited opportunity for inland retreat. Documenting
the presence and distribution of mangroves, and specifically mangrove community types, will be of value to conservation, restoration, and management planning in light of predicted sea level rise and climate change effects.
Area of interest: Grenada