Multi-scale monitoring of landscape change after the 2011 tsunami
- 1Department of Informatics, Tokyo University of Information Sciences, Chiba, 2658501 Japan
- 2R&D Center, Pasco Corporation, Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 1530043 Japan
- 3Remote Sensing Unit, Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd., Fuchu, Tokyo 1830057 Japan
- 4Department of Regional Design, Tohoku Gakuin University, Sendai 9813139, Japan
Abstract. The Great East Japan Earthquake (magnitude 9.0; occurred on 11th March 2011) and subsequent huge tsunami caused widespread damage along the Pacific Ocean coast of eastern Honshu, Japan. This research utilizes multi-resolution remote sensing images to clarify the impact on landscapes caused by this disaster, and also to monitor the subsequent survival and recovery process in the Sendai Bay region. The coastal landscape in the target area features a narrow strip of coastal sand barrier, historically stabilized by planted pine groves; backed by a low-lying plain that has traditionally been diked and converted to irrigated rice paddies. Farmsteads on the flat alluvial plain are surrounded by groves called “Igune”, consisting primarily of conifers. MODIS data (250 m resolution) were employed to map the overall extent of inundation and damage on the regional landscape scale. The major damage caused by the tsunami, destruction of coastal pine forests and inundation or rice paddies on the plain, was identified at this level. Progressively finer scale analysis were then implemented using SPOT/HRG-2 (10 m resolution) data; GeoEye-1 fine resolution data (0.5 m) and very fine resolution aerial photographs (10 cm) and LiDAR. These results demonstrated the minute details of the damage and recovery process. Some patches of pine forest, for example, were seen to have survived, and some coastal plant communities were already recovering only a year after the disaster. Continuous monitoring using field work and remote sensing is required for balanced regional strategies that provide for economic and social recovery and as well as restoration of vegetation, biodiversity and vital ecosystem services.