Student information

MSc thesis subject: Effects of human settlement in the surroundings or within tropical mangrove forests

Climate change is expected to cause the displacement of tens of millions by 2050 driven by changes in their local environmental conditions and the intensification of natural disasters.

A large human exodus is foreseen and the first human relocations are already taking place across the world. Human relocation is expected to cause significant damage to coastal and marine ecosystems and the first signs of this threatening development have started to be seen (e.g. Fiji, Carteret Islands, Bahamas, etc.). Disturbances to the natural environment triggered by human relocation might subsequently affect some intrinsic ecosystem functions. In this project, Remote Sensing imagery will be retrieved and used for an assessment of the environmental disruptions that these relocated communities cause to tropical coastal ecosystems. The project will include several case studies worldwide. Start date is flexible. This thesis topic is part of a broader PhD project.

Objectives (subject to changes)

  • To identify and select a number of case studies
  • To create maps of these regions using optical remote sensing techniques.
  • To assess the vegetation state, health and quality, and to determine how different ecological processes change or are disrupted over time.
  • To identify cascading effects across different vegetated habitats and spatial scales as a result of human disturbance.


  • Razali, S. M., Nuruddin, A. A., & Lion, M. (2019). Mangrove vegetation health assessment based on remote sensing indices for tanjung piai, malay peninsular. Journal of Landscape Ecology, 12(2), 26–40.
  • Sakib, I. (2018). Ecological impact of rohingya refugees on forest resources: remote sensing analysis of vegetation cover change in teknaf peninsula in bangladesh. Ecocycles, 4(1), 16–19.
  • Piggott-McKellar, A., McNamara, K., Nunn, P., & Sekinini, S. (2019). Moving People in a Changing Climate: Lessons from Two Case Studies in Fiji. Social Sciences, 8(5), 133.


  • Advanced Earth Observation course
  • Knowledge of optical Remote Sensing
  • Techniques and interpretation Understanding of ecological processes

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring; Integrated Land Monitoring