Mosquito Larval Habitats, Land Use, and Potential Malaria Risk in Northern Belize from Satellite Image Analyses
ABSTRACT The distribution of Anopheles mosquito habitats and land use in northern Belize is examined with satellite data. -A land cover classification based on multispectral SPOT and multitemporal Radarsat images identified eleven land cover classes, including agricultural, forest, and marsh types. Two of the land cover types, Typha domingensis marsh and flooded forest, are Anopheles vestitipennis larval habitats. Eleocharis spp. marsh is the larval habitat for Anopheles albimanus. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyses of land cover demonstrate that the amount of T-ha domingensis in a marsh is positively correlated with the amount of agricultural land in the adjacent upland, and negatively correlated with the amount of adjacent forest. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that nutrient (phosphorus) runoff from agricultural lands is causing an expansion of Typha domingensis in northern Belize. This expansion of Anopheles vestitipennis larval habitat may in turn cause an increase in malaria risk in the region.