A world without mangroves?

Duke, N.C., Meynecke, J.-O., Dittmann, S., Ellison, A.M., Anger, K., Berger, U., Cannicci, S., Diele, K., Ewel, K.C., Field, C.D., Koedam, N., Lee, S.Y., Marchand, C., Nordhaus, I., and Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2007) A world without mangroves? Science, 317. pp. 41-42.

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[Extract] At a meeting of world mangrove experts held last year in Australia, it was unanimously agreed that we face the prospect of a world deprived of the services offered by mangrove ecosystems, perhaps within the next 100 years. Mangrove forests once covered more than 200,000 km² of sheltered tropical and subtropical coastlines. They are disappearing worldwide by 1 to 2 % per year, a rate greater than or equal to declines in adjacent coral reefs or tropical rainforests. Losses are occurring in almost every country that has mangroves, and rates continue to rise more rapidly in developing countries, where >90 % of the world's mangroves are located. The veracity and detail of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation data (2) on which these observations are based may be arguable, but mangrove losses during the last quarter-century range consistently between 35 and 86%. As mangrove areas are becoming small or fragmented, their long-term survival is at great risk and essential ecosystem services may be lost.

Where mangrove forests are cleared for aquaculture, urbanization, or coastal landfill or deteriorate due to indirect effects of pollution and upstream land-use, their species richness is expected to decline precipitously, because the number of mangrove plant species is directly correlated with forest size. Examples from other ecosystems have shown that species extinctions can be followed by loss in functional diversity, particularly in species-poor systems like mangroves, which have low redundancy per se. Therefore, any further decline in mangrove area is likely to be followed by accelerated functional losses. Mangroves are already critically endangered or approaching extinction in 26 out of the 120 countries having mangroves.

Item ID: 28361
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 06:46
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960902 Coastal and Estuarine Land Management @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
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