The Karimunjawa Islands mangrove forest has been subjected to various direct and indirect human disturbances in the recent years. If not properly managed, this disturbance will lead to the degradation of mangrove habitat health. Assessing forest canopy fractional cover (fc) using remote sensing data is one way of measuring mangrove forest degradation. This study aims to (1) estimate the forest canopy fc using a semi-empirical method, (2) assess the accuracy of the fc estimation and (3) create mangrove forest degradation from the canopy fc results. A sample set of in-situ fc was collected using the hemispherical camera for model development and accuracy assessment purposes. We developed semi-empirical relationship models between pixel values of ALOS AVNIR-2 image (10 m pixel size) and field fc, using Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) as a proxy of the image spectral response. The results show that the EVI provides reasonableÂ estimation accuracy of mangrove canopy fc in Karimunjawa Island with the values ranged from 0.17 to 0.96 (n = 69). The low fc values correspond to vegetation opening and gaps caused by human activities or mangrove dieback. The high fc values correspond to the healthy and dense mangrove stands, especially the Rhizophora sp formation at the seafront. The results of this research justify the use of simple canopy fractional cover model for assessing the mangrove forest degradation status in the study area. Further research is needed to test the applicability of this approach at different sites.
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