Intra- and interspecific facilitation in mangroves may increase resilience to climate change threats

Mark Huxham, Marappullige P. Kumara, Loku P. Jayatissa, Ken W. Krauss, James Kairo, Joseph Langat, Maurizio Mencuccini, Martin W. Skov, Bernard Kirui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mangroves are intertidal ecosystems that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. At the low tidal limits of their range, they face swamping by rising sea levels; at the high tidal limits, they face increasing stress from desiccation and high salinity. Facilitation theory may help guide mangrove management and restoration in the face of these threats by suggesting how and when positive intra- and interspecific effects may occur: such effects are predicted in stressed environments such as the intertidal, but have yet to be shown among mangroves. Here, we report the results of a series of experiments at low and high tidal sites examining the effects of mangrove density and species mix on seedling survival and recruitment, and on the ability of mangroves to trap sediment and cause surface elevation change. Increasing density significantly increased the survival of seedlings of two different species at both high and low tidal sites, and enhanced sediment accretion and elevation at the low tidal site. Including Avicennia marina in species mixes enhanced total biomass at a degraded high tidal site. Increasing biomass led to changed microenvironments that allowed the recruitment and survival of different mangrove species, particularly Ceriops tagal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2127-2135
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume365
Issue number1549
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2010

Keywords

  • mangrove
  • facilitation
  • intertidal
  • salinity
  • density
  • sediment
  • RISING SEA-LEVEL
  • SEDIMENT ACCRETION
  • COASTAL WETLANDS
  • ELEVATION CHANGE
  • GAZI BAY
  • FORESTS
  • RESTORATION
  • MARSH
  • MANAGEMENT
  • RESPONSES

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