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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Photo: Monifa

Photo: Monifa Fiu

1.0 Mangroves: Values, Status and ThreatsMangrove forests occur most extensively on sheltered,sedimentary shorelines of the tropics in intertidalsituations such as deltas and estuaries. Mangroveshave special adaptations for a wet, saline environmentsuch as aerial roots, which makes them uniquefrom other trees. While the center of mangrovebiodiversity is Southeast Asia, common genera, suchas Rhizophora, Bruguiera and Avicennia, occur acrossmost of the tropics (Figure 1).1.1 Mangrove valuesMangroves play an integral role in coastal ecosystemsat the interface between terrestrial, freshwater andmarine systems. Mangroves afford protection to bothterrestrial and estuarine systems from high-energymarine processes, preventing erosion and bufferingcoastal communities from tropical cyclonic storms.The forests also act to filter runoff water and soprotect offshore sea grass beds and coral reefs fromdeposition of suspended matter discharged by rivers.Mangrove ecosystems are a significant carbon sink interms of forest biomass as well as organic sedimentaccumulation (Donato et al., 2011; Bouillon, 2011). Forcenturies, mangroves have provided a wide range ofproducts for coastal communities, such as timber andfuelwood and bioactive compounds for tanning andmedicinal purposes (MacNae, 1968; Spalding et al.,2010). These values are illustrated in Figure 2.One of the most important values of mangroves topeople is their support of ecologically and economicallyimportant fish species (Robertson & Duke, 1990;Kimani et al., 1996; Baran & Hambrey, 1999; Mumbyet al., 2004; Chitaro et al., 2005). The ecosystemis known to act as a nursery site for many fish andcrustacean species important for both commercial andsubsistence purposes. Many studies have shown thatmangroves harbor high densities of juvenile reef fish(Ley & McIvor, 2002) and provide an intermediatenursery stage between sea grass beds and patchreefs (Mumby et al., 2004). Juvenile survivorship60ºN40ºN20ºN0º20ºS40ºSMANGROVE DIVERSITY: Total numbers ofmangrove species around the world’s coastsFigure 1: Native distributions of mangrove species.1–2 3–4 5–8 9–12 13–1617–20 21–25 26–35 36–40 41–47Adapted from Spalding et al., 2010Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems | 1

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