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Remote Sensing and Ethnobotanical Assessment of the Mangrove Forest Changes in the Navachiste-San Ignacio-Macapule Lagoon Complex, Sinaloa, Mexico

Rubi Hernández Cornejo, Nico Koedam, Arturo Ruiz Luna, Max Troell and Farid Dahdouh-Guebas. 2005 Ecology and Society 10(1): 16


The present study focuses on the Navachiste-San Ignacio-Macapule lagoon complex in northwest Mexico and evaluates the spatiotemporal change in the mangrove area over the last three decades using Landsat MSS and TM imagery. Local ethnobotanical uses of the mangrove forest and local perceptions about the status and recent development of the mangrove forest cover are also analyzed. The results of interviews with 54 inhabitants of four fishing villages in the study area indicated that, overall, Laguncularia racemosa is the most frequently used species in this region of the Mexican Pacific coast, where it serves as firewood and a construction material, particularly for walls and fences. The next-ranked species were Avicennia germinans, which is used for tea, and Rhizophora mangle, which is used for tanning; both these species also serve medicinal purposes. There was a discrepancy between the assessment of actual changes in the mangrove cover and what people perceived them to be. These findings are discussed from a socioeconomic (utilization) and an ecological (functionality) point of view and in relation to the use of remote sensing as a tool. The utilization pattern is also discussed against the background of mangrove cover variation.

Keywords: mangrove, ethnobiology, remote sensing, time series, Thematic Mapper, Multi-Spectral Scanner, Mexico

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