Relating the changes of mangrove forests to spatially explicit reductions in rainfall amounts and increases in drought occurrences is a prerequisite for improving the effectiveness and success of mangrove forest conservation programs. To this end, we investigated the relationship between drought events (quantified using the Standardized Precipitation Index [SPI]) and changes in area and canopy cover of mangrove forests on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea using satellite imagery and long-term annual rainfall data over a period of 30 years (1986–2016). Statistical analyses revealed 1998 as the year marking the most significant change-point in the mean annual rainfall values in the catchments and mangroves, after which average SPI values consistently remained at lower levels. In the period of 1998–2016, decreases in the mean annual rainfall and increases in the severity of droughts differed spatially and were greater in the catchments and mangroves on the coasts of the Oman Sea than the coasts of the Persian Gulf. These spatially explicit results were closely mirrored by the mangrove response, with differential in reductions in mangrove areas and canopy cover that corresponded closely with the spatial distribution of drought intensities in the different parts of the coasts, with correlation coefficients ≥0.89 for the different coastal regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science