Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1551–1565 | Cite as

Discovery and enumeration of Swahilian Coastal Forests in Lindi region, Tanzania, using Landsat TM data analysis

  • Erik Prins
  • G. Philip Clarke


The Swahilian Coastal Forests in eastern Africa are recognised to be a globally important habitat containing large numbers of endemic species, yet are still poorly known over much of their extent. Floristic diversity and endemism in these forests appears to peak in SE Tanzania, where only a few forests have hitherto been surveyed. We carried out a digital analysis of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data to identify other potential areas of Coastal Forest in Lindi and Kilwa Districts, SE Tanzania, followed by a field survey to ground truth and fine-tune our analysis. Our analysis has identified, mapped and sub-classified all remaining areas of Coastal Forest in Lindi and Kilwa Districts, and includes the discovery of a large and hitherto undescribed area of Coastal Forest at Namatimbili, which would make it one of the largest known blocks of contiguous Coastal Forest in eastern Africa. This forest furthermore appears to be minimally impacted by human disturbance. Given the rapidly increasing threats to forested vegetation in this area, urgent efforts are required by the conservation community to ensure the immediate and continued protection of Namatimbili forest.


Swahilian Coastal Forests Landsat TM Tanzania Satellite analysis Remote sensing Namatimbili 


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Many thanks to Frank Mbago for conducting botanical collections in the forests of SE Tanzania, and to Henry Ndangalasi at the University of Dar es Salaam herbarium, Tanzania, Ib Friis at the Copenhagen Botanical Museum herbarium, Denmark, and Kaj Vollesen at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, UK, for identifying the specimens collected.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prins EngineeringHorsholmDK
  2. 2.The HermitageCrewkerne, SomersetUK

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