Functionality of restored mangroves: A review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Aquatic Botany, 2008, 89 (2), pp. 251 - 259
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Widespread mangrove degradation Coupled with the increasing awareness of the importance of these coastal forests have spurred many attempts to restore mangroves but without concomitant assessment of recovery (or otherwise) at the ecosystem level in many areas. This paper reviews literature on the recovery of restored mangrove ecosystems using relevant functional indicators. While stand structure in mangrove stands is dependent on age, site conditions and silvicultural management, published data indicates that stem densities are higher in restored mangroves than comparable natural stands; the converse is true for basal area. Biomass increment rates have been found to be higher in younger stands than older stands (e.g. 12 t ha(-1) year(-1) for a 12 years plantation compared to 5.1 t ha(-1) year(-1) for a 80-year-old plantation). Disparities in patterns of tree species recruitment into the restored stands have been observed with some stands having linear recruitment rates with time (hence enhancing stand complexity), while some older stands completely lacked the understorey. Biodiversity assessments Suggest that some fauna species are more responsive to mangrove degradation (e.g. herbivorous crabs and mollusks in general), and thus mangrove restoration encourages the return of such species, in some cases to levels equivalent to those in comparable natural stands. The paper finally recommends various mangrove restoration pathways in a functional framework dependent on site conditions and emphasizes community involvement and ecosystem level monitoring as integral components of restoration projects
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