A world without mangroves?

Amer Assoc Advancement Science
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science, 2007, 317 (5834), pp. 41 - 42
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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 (1). 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 (2-5). 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 Organization 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 smaller or fragmented, their long-term survival is at great risk, and essential ecosystem services may be lost.
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