I am trying to detect timing and pattern of change in a particular salt marsh (low marsh sitting close to a high marsh). Basically, I'm interested in detecting changes in the leading edge for different years. Just wondering if anyone knows how to map salt marsh recession using leading edge.

The leading edge is the front line - like the boundary line that fronts another adjoining vegetation/class.
My final product will be a map showing shift/change in area between different years and a graph showing the changes (after calculating size of polygon in e.g. arcgis). The timing of change will let me identify when exactly the change has occurred/is occurring (using a time slice). The pattern will enable me to determine if change in marsh is gradual and if marsh have periods of both recession and extension over time.

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    Welcome to GIS SE. You have landsat in your question title, but in the question state you are not using a classification method or have reference imagery. Why do you state landsat in the title? Can you also provide more background info regarding what you mean by combine polygons from two images? – artwork21 Feb 10 '16 at 4:36
  • Interesting question. Could you please help clarify what your final product would look like? A definition of leading edge would be helpful. Also, could you please elaborate on how timing and pattern of change are relevant to your analysis? – Aaron Feb 14 '16 at 2:11