Much of the mangrove forests in the Caribbean have been impacted by human activities, and now they are projected to be negatively affected by sea-level rise especially where they are constrained on the landward side by built development, or starved of sediment. This study assessed the status and trends of mangrove forests in Trinidad and Tobago so that response to human induced changes and climate changes can be determined. Mangrove forests in Trinidad and Tobago were mapped between 2008–2010 using high resolution satellite imagery (2000–2007), geographic information systems (GIS) technology and extensive ground-truthing surveys. Their sizes were determined. In Trinidad, mangrove coverage was estimated at 7,532 ha on the west coast, 1,132.8 ha on the east coast, 481.3 ha on the south coast, 0.3 ha on the north coast and 222.9 ha in Tobago. Mangrove coverage was higher than anticipated, perhaps because of inaccuracies in historical data and in some cases because of re-growth following past disturbances. While some mangrove forests are negatively impacted by land-use changes and erosion, there are instances where forests have overgrown freshwater marshes, or are expanded onto mudflats.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2–3