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MAP’s Asia Coordinator Assists Training Workshop
THAILAND - The China Mangrove Conservation Network (CMCN) invited myself as MAP’s Asia Coordinator to assist with a three day training workshop (April 22-24, 2013) with the objective to help build capacity of the Chinese mangrove reserve staff and rangers. The workshop was sponsored by College of the Environment and Ecology, Xiaman University with funding support from the SEE Fund, a Chinese entrepreneur Corporate Social Responsibility foundation. I was given the entire afternoon of the first day to present on mangrove conservation with a special focus on community development and engagement. To-date Chinese mangrove reserve management has played little attention in working in the surrounding communities to build their mangrove awareness and help them see the mangrove nature reserves in a more positive light, rather than just the strict enforcers of regulations which impacts their livelihoods. READ MORE
Plastic Waste Destroys Mangroves of the Wouri Estuary
CAMEROON - Waste from “Bois des Singes” and Bonendale neighborhoods is being dumped in the mangroves forest, South of Douala and according to Sidi Bare, the Littoral Regional Delegate of Environment, these waste destroy the mangrove ecosystem. Waste of industrial nature is also dumped into these areas, Sidi Bare told the Cameroon Tribune. Besides dumping waste under the mangrove bushes, trees are also cut down for fuel, confirms Oumarou Garba, a resident in the area. Waste dumped is composed of plastics and textile fabrics from households and industries, and experts say about 2000 metric tons of waste are produced daily in Douala. HYSACAM, a waste collecting company, says that 1,350 tons of waste are disposed properly while 400 to 600 tons cannot be collected due to its inaccessibility. Run off washes uncollected and improperly are dumping waste into the Wouri Estuary and a study by the Cameroon Mangrove Conservation Network suggests that waste are blocking the free flow of water and air hence killing plant life. VIEW SOURCE
Mangroves under threat as Cameroonians move toward coast
CAMEROON - Mangroves that could protect Cameroon from rising seas may be subject to more pressure than they can bear, as people migrating to the country’s southwestern coast clear trees at a rate so fast they can’t regenerate, scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said. As the world grapples with the effects of climate change, it cannot afford to ignore these unique, watery worlds, said Bele Mekou Youssoufa, co-author of Vulnerability to coastal flooding and response strategies: the case of Cameroon mangrove forests. “Even if we negate all benefits of mangroves as forests, their value as the ‘shore-line protector’ should be enough to convince us to conserve them,” he said, noting the trees’ roots spread across a large area, soaking up water and encouraging sedimentation. That not only helps stabilise tidal and freshwater inputs, according to recent CIFOR research, but helps prevent soil erosion. READ MORE
Lobby to Plant Trees
KENYA - Green Towns Movement, Kenya Forest Research Institute and Kenya Forest Service will this weekend plant 500 mangrove trees along Sabaki River. Speaking to the Star in his office, Green Towns Partnership Association national chairman Godfrey Karume said the conservation exercise will reclaim land from the sea to curb soil erosion and bar floods. "River Sabaki has taken up land around it. This has led to mass soil erosion and floods which has affected Malindi and Magarini residents," Karume said. He said mangrove trees have the ability to hold water. "Mangroves play an important role in controlling erosion and providing a protective shield from severe floods. We are optimistic that this is a long term preventive measure against floods," Karume said. He said mangroves will not be the only solution. "We urge the government to build dams on the river," Karume said. VIEW SOURCE
A green tsunami recovery in Indonesia
INDONESIA – Volunteers are helping the Pangandaran region back on its feet after a tsunami battered the region. They’re reforesting mangrove forests, building coral reefs and spreading climate awareness. In 2006, a tsunami devastated Pangandaran, a pristine ocean-side resort and popular tourist destination. Today, hotels are back up and running and the tourists are back in force, but the local environment has been slower to recover. With support from the International Climate Initiative and the United Nations' World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Indonesian NGO Indecon is now leading an effort to reforest Pangandaran’s mangrove woods and replenish its coral reefs. Sustainability is the key. That’s because nearly everyone in Pangandaran relies on tourism for a living - from hotels and restaurants to small farmers and fishers. And all of them need an intact and healthy environment to flourish. READ MORE
Top shrimp exporter to delist
VIETNAM - Shrimp processor and exporter Minh Phu (MPC), Viet Nam's biggest shrimp company, plans to delist its shares in order to charge higher prices for them. "Listing is meant to raise funds, but for us it's like being caged," Minh Phu chairman Le Van Quang told the Saigon Economic Times. The shrimp industry's troubles began in 2011, when the shrimp price increased constantly. In early 2012, when disease destroyed shrimp in Viet Nam and Indonesia, importers thought the price would not decline any further so they made purchasing contracts for the whole year in advance. However, in June, as the European debt crisis hit, Europe bought less shrimp and the price again decreased. Meanwhile, exporters from India and Bangladesh reduced their prices thanks to abundant supply. Indian shrimp prices fell rapidly from US$14.5 for a pound of shrimp to $6.7. "Big partners did not offer letters of credit, while some importers declared bankruptcy so they would not have to implement the signed contracts," Quang said. READ MORE
Tom Goreau on Bakers Bay Coral Reef Decline
BAHAMAS - Acclaimed coral scientist Tom Goreau spoke about coral reef decline at Baker's Bay Club in Great Guana Cay, Bahamas as a result of excessive fertilizer run-off. The speech, presented at the Bahamas National Natural History Conference in Nassau on March 7, was well received by the audience and is the first public presentation of data from the Baker's Bay coral reef controversy. The speech, billed as "Golf Course Fertilizer Runoff Causes Nutrient Enrichment Leading to Harmful Algae Blooms on a Bahamian Coral Reef", was co-written by Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, James Cervino of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Troy Albury, President of Save Guana Cay Reef. READ MORE
Casino ship to Bimini to double island’s population
BIMINI - A new cruise ship (complete with casino, shopping, restaurants, disco, swimming pool) may soon be coming to Bimini. Genting (USA) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Genting Malaysia has purchased the 32,728 gross tons SUPERFAST VI, to transport guests from Florida to their new casino at north Bimini. The ship is capable of carrying 1,600 passengers, with berths for 934 overnight passengers. It is 669 feet long/beam 82 feet; operating at a high speed of around 28 knots in calm seas; it will complete the 48 nautical-miles from the Florida coast in around 2 1/2 hours. This news has not been received warmly by many Biminites, and long term (3rd generation) second home-owners—who fear an over-run of visitors will drain the tiny island of already meager sources such as power, plumbing, and fearsome traffic on only two, small lanes serving as ‘highways.’ If this boat arrived in Bimini, full of passengers it would essentially DOUBLE, the population on the island. READ MORE
Although the following story is from 2008, it helps highlight the issues still occurring on the island of Bimini in the Caribbean. We run it again in order to remind readers of importance of this issue.
Bimini - Paradise in Peril
BIMINI - Fabien Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society present "Paradise in Peril," a stunning documentary about unsustainable development on the tiny islands of Bimini, Bahamas. The Save Bimini Association is made up of a collection of individuals, businesses & organizations dedicated to a sustainable future for the islands of Bimini. Started as a small local group of Biminites, Save Bimini has grown into an international coalition. The Save Bimini Association is not against development interests on Bimini, but rather seeks to ensure that all developments respect the history, culture & ecology of this precious island chain. “We recognize that people from around the world come to Bimini for what it is, not for what developers wish it would be”. VIEW VIDEO
Shrimp farmers hope to create a niche for domestic product
USA - Like many types of partnerships these days, the people behind a shrimp farm that is the first of its kind in New England found each other online. James Tran, founder and CEO of Sky 8 Shrimp Farm, investigated starting his own indoor shrimp farm by visiting operations in Indiana and Nevada and trying out small-scale experiments in his spare time. It was a career shift from the semiconductor business and his electrical engineering background, but made some sense given his family history of harvesting wild and farmed shrimp in Vietnam. “Even though I came here when I was young, basically my whole family are fishermen,” he says. He decided to pursue the project in earnest. After getting nowhere with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, he was told by a state regulator he needed to find a seafood expert. He found 40-year seafood industry veteran Peter Howard in an online search and gave him a call. “He called me and said, ‘Do you want to start a shrimp farm? I said, ‘When do you want to start?’ He said, ‘Next month,’” remembers Howard. READ MORE
Habitat Restoration Yields Long-term Benefits to Fisheries
USA - Restoring and expanding coastal and estuarine habitat leads to increases in fish populations, which have a positive impact on the communities and the industries that depend on thriving and sustainable fisheries. A report released today by Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and co-authored with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - More Habitat Means More Fish - makes a powerful case that investing in our nation's coastlines and estuaries leads to healthy habitat and strong fisheries, which has a positive impact on the businesses and industries, both recreational and commercial, that need healthy fisheries to survive and thrive. READ MORE
Editor's Note: Though World Migratory Bird Day has passed on May 11th, it is still vitally important we relate the loss of mangroves to the threats of extinction posed by this loss to migratory water birds. One area of great concern in losing mangrove wetlands and their associated ecosystems is the continuing loss and degradation of the migratory waterbirds flyways and resting stops. Thus when shrimp farms or other developments encroach upon mudflats and mangroves to site their developments, migratory water birds lose that important edge for survival that these most vulnerable intertidal zones provide.
"Very often migrant birds are under huge pressure at the exact points where they are most vulnerable. Birds battling to reach the sea-shore descend into a limitless line of nets. Tiny falcons funnel through forests to be trapped in their thousands. Exhausted shorebirds find that the mudflats where they once refueled are now a sea of concrete, or circle wearily because their roosting sites have vanished" - Dr. Marco Lambertini, Chief Executive, BirdLife International."What does concern them (the waterbirds of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway) is that the network of sites they have traditionally depended on for safety, food, breeding and moulting is changing rapidly and usually for the worse. Areas of inter-tidal coastal flats of East Asia have undergone a steep and continuing decline in recent decades, threatening the migration routes of migratory shorebirds" - Spike Millington, Chief Executive of East Asian ? Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat.
Loss and Degradation of Natural Habitats Threaten Migratory Birds
GERMANY - The annual migration of an estimated 50 billion birds - around 19 per cent of the world's 10,000 bird species - is one of the world's great natural wonders, yet the critical staging areas migratory birds need to complete these journeys are being degraded or are disappearing completely. These increasingly vulnerable sites, which act as stepping stones on migration routes, serve as a place for the birds to rest, feed and breed during their annual migration cycles. As a result of the degradation, some species may be extinct within a decade, while others are facing population losses of up to nine per cent each year. Celebrated in over 65 countries on 11-12 May, World Migratory Bird Day 2013 will highlight the importance of ecological networks for the survival of migratory birds, the important human networks dedicated to their conservation, the threats migratory birds face, and the need for more international cooperation to conserve them. READ MORE
Mangroves and pollinating bats?
U.K. - Megachiroptera comprising flying foxes or fruit bats are animals of extraordinary ecological and economic importance throughout forests of the Old World tropics. Nearly 200 species play an essential role as mangrove pollinators and seed dispersers, yet they are frequently misunderstood intensely persecuted and exceptionally vulnerable to extinction Their role in the propagation of numerous important mangrove plants remains virtually uninvestigated. However, my review of already available literature demonstrates that at least half of the total mangrove plant species (there are roughly 58 species of mangrove trees and plants that are identified and named so far) rely to varying degrees on large populations of flying foxes for propagation. These plants, in addition to their many ecological contributing produce some 448 economically valuable products. The fact that flying foxes are increasingly threatened and that few baseline data exist on population trends is cause for concern. READ MORE
Mangrove Restoration Should Involve More Biodiversity Much Less Monoculture:
U.K. - Interest in mangroves has grown considerably since the Asian tsunami, but for reasons other than biodiversity (e.g. green-belt protection, fisheries productivity, sustainable development of local people, ('blue') carbon storage, as a casualty of large-scale aquaculture development and so on.) A key problem for mangrove biodiveristy stems from the methods and beliefs around restoration after clearance for charcoal, aquaculture or over-exploitation. Mangrove forests vary in their macro-flora biodiversity, from three or four tree and shrub species in the US to 60-80 species around Indonesia. After restoration efforts what replaces the forests, if successful, is often from only the Rhizophora genus. This is due to the fact thatRhizophora propagules are easy to handle, Rhizophora is sometimes believed to be 'the best' mangrove species and that it has a fairly wide range of tolerances to inundation regimes, and bio-chemo-physical gradients. Therefore many of the restoration efforts resemble mono-specific plantations, with Rhizophora planted in straight lines. Plantation-style restoration is unsurprising as many states’ mangroves are the responsibility of the forestry department. And as a result of imitation and perhaps government training, local people’s restoration is similar. READ MORE
USAID pushes for privatization of Central American seas
HONDURAS - In the mid-twentieth century, it was believed that the marine biota was inexhaustible. In recent years, it was shown that the water resource is finite and large areas of "fishing grounds" are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted to the estimated degree of over 400 "dead seas", particularly in the Baltic Sea and both coasts of the U.S.. Some of the proposed “solutions” to recover marine resources would allow the Northern Hemisphere industrial fleets to invade their areas for fishing, while simultaneously sending large fishing fleets and more technology to the "Southern Cone", where through direct agreements with rulers, signing free trade agreements, practice in essence illegal, unreported and unregulated acts of piracy in exploitation of fish stocks. The "Tragedy of the Commons" (Hardin, 1968) is evident when transnational companies gain access to fishing underexploited seas and introduce more ships and technology to deplete the resource. Some suggest that small-scale fishermen are guilty of this "tragedy," but this kind of reasoning is merely preparing the ground to strip them of their way of life. READ MORE
~ WE WELOCME YOUR LETTERS - If you’d like to have the last word on this or any other mangrove related topic, please send us your submission for upcoming newsletters. We’ll choose one per issue to have “the last word”. While we can’t promise to publish everyone’s letter, we do encourage anyone to post comments on our Blog at www. mangroveactionproject.blogspot.com
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Saturday, May 25, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:25 AM
Friday, May 24, 2013
Interest in mangroves has grown considerably since the Asian tsunami, but for reasons other than biodiversity (e.g. green-belt protection, fisheries productivity, sustainable development of local people, ('blue') carbon storage, as a casualty of large-scale aquaculture development and so on.)
A key problem for mangrove biodiveristy stems from the methods and beliefs around restoration after clearance for charcoal, aquaculture or over-exploitation. Mangrove forests vary in their macro-flora biodiversity, from three or four tree and shrub species in the US to 60-80 species around Indonesia. After restoration efforts what replaces the forests, if successful, is often from only the Rhizophora genus. This is due to the fact thatRhizophora propagules are easy to handle, Rhizophora is sometimes believed to be 'the best' mangrove species and that it has a fairly wide range of tolerances to inundation regimes, and bio-chemo-physical gradients. Therefore many of the restoration efforts resemble mono-specific plantations, with Rhizophora planted in straight lines. Plantation-style restoration is unsurprising as many states’ mangroves are the responsibility of the forestry department. And as a result of imitation and perhaps government training, local people’s restoration is similar.
For a review of the issues, see Lewis (2013). For a description of a more appropriate method of ecological mangrove restoration, whereby amended and corrected hydrology encourages natural regeneration and therefore greater biodiversity, see Field (1996) and Lewis (2005).
Evidence about whether other mangrove species colonise mono-specific plantations is mixed. Walters’s (2000) detailed survey of various Filipino plantations revealed that there was very little natural recruitment of other species in mangrove plantation areas, even after taking into account the ‘weeding’ done by local people (supported by Sudtongkong and Webb 2008, Enright, 2012 per. comm.). The process of establishing a plantation sometimes involves the removal of other species nearby to allow space for the plantation, simplifying local biodiversity further (Enright 2012, per. comm., per. ob.). The lack of propagule recruitment might be due to several reasons: the very dense prop roots characteristic of Rhizophora planted at high density, blocking the movement of other propagules into the site; prop root-induced soil accretion making the substrate high relative to sea-level, unsuitable for pioneer species to colonise; exuded phenolic compounds from mangrove tree roots might suppress other species (Alongi 2002); propagule predation (Bosire et al. 2006) and the gaps in the plantation formed by limited harvesting being too small and open for too short a time (gap-mediated colonisation, see Clarke and Kerrigan, 2000). Walters (2000) found no correlation between stand age and species richness and thus concluded that if biodiversity is an objective, it has to be designed in at planting.
In contrast, Bosire et al. (2003) and Kairo et al. (2008) found that even mono-specific reforestation facilitated natural recruitment of propagules and seeds (supported by Ellison 2000), by reducing wave energy and trapping propagules. Saenger (2002) also mentions the biochemical improvements live mangrove roots make to the soil by exuding oxygen and carbohydrate, making colonisation more likely.
Whether low macroflora biodiversity leads to lower net primary productivity, nutrient cycling, litter processing and as a result, lower fish productivity appears not to have been comprehensively studied.
Alongi, D. M. (2002). Present state and future of the world's mangrove forests. Environmental Conservation, 29(3) doi: 10.1017/S0376892902000231
Bosire, J. O., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Kairo, J. G., Wartel, S., Kazungu, J. M., & Koedam, N. (2006). Success rates of recruited tree species and their contribution to the structural development of reforested mangrove stands. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 325, 85-91.
Bosire, J. O., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Kairo, J. G., & Koedam, N. (2003). Colonization of non-planted mangrove species into restored mangrove stands in gazi bay, kenya. Aquatic Botany, 76(4), 267-279. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3770(03)00054-8
Clarke, P.J. & Kerrigan, R.A. 2000, "Do Forest Gaps Influence the Population Structure and Species Composition of Mangrove Stands in Northern Australia? 1", Biotropica, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 642-652.
Ellison, A. M. (2000). Mangrove restoration: Do we know enough? Restoration Ecology, 8(3), 219-229. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-100x.2000.
Enright, J. (2005). Mangrove and mangrove community expert. Thailand.
Field, C.D., ed. (1996). Restoration of mangrove ecosystems. International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan.
Kairo, J. G., Lang’at, J. K. S., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Bosire, J., & Karachi, M. (2008). Structural development and productivity of replanted mangrove plantations in kenya. Forest Ecology and Management, 255(7), 2670-2677. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.01.031
Lewis, R.R. (2005). Ecological engineering for successful management and restoration of mangrove forests. Ecol. Eng., 24(4 SI): 403–418.
Lewis III, R.R. 2013. Mangrove forest restoration and the preservation of mangrove biodiversity. In: Bozzano, M., Jalonen R., Evert, T., Boshier, D., Gallo, L., Cavers, S., Bordacs, S., Smith, P., and Loo, J. (eds). Genetic considerations in ecosystem restoration using native tree species. A thematic study for the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. (Forthcoming).
Saenger, P. (2002). Mangrove ecology, silviculture, and conservation. Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Sudtongkong, C., & Webb, E. L. (2008). Outcomes of state-vs. community-based mangrove management in southern thailand. Ecology and Society, 13(2), 27.
Walters, B. B., Rönnbäck, P., Kovacs, J. M., Crona, B., Hussain, S. A., Badola, R., . . . Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2008). Ethnobiology, socio-economics and management of mangrove forests: A review. Aquatic Botany, 89(2), 220-236. doi: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2008.02.009
Walters, B. B. (2000). Local mangrove planting in the philippines: Are fisherfolk and fishpond owners effective restorationists? Restoration Ecology, 8(3), 237-246. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-100x.2000.
Posted by BlogAdmin at 11:11 AM
What is Mangrove Forest?
Mangrove forests are comprised of unique plant species that form the critical interface between terrestrial, estuarine, and near-shore marine ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions. The term mangrove is generally used to describe the assemblage of trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats, normally found in the tropics and sub-tropics. Mangrove plants are not land builders but once established, play a key role in stabilization of newly accreted sediment. Mangrove tree species have developed a wide range of features, including specialized stomatal, leaf, seed, and root structures, as adaptations for living in a saline environment with high incidence of inundation. Most mangrove species are viviparous; seeds germinate while still attached to the tree. Buoyant seeds develop into mature propagules, which then drop and disperse by water. Of note is the diversity in root structures of the mangrove tree species, designed to facilitate anchorage, nutrient uptake, and gaseous exchange. Some species, such as Heritiera fomes, Sonneratia apetala, and Avicennia officinalis, have pneumataphores; upward projecting root branches that enable the gaseous exchange required for respiratory metabolism. Other species, such as Rhizophora mucronata, have “stilt” or “knee” roots for gaseous exchange, while additional features such as the “tap” roots (buttresses) of Heritiera fomes and the horizontal spread of roots in general, add to overall stability. Some plants also excrete excess salt through leaves.
Why Care about Mangroves?
The importance of mangroves for humans and a variety of coastal organisms has been well documented. They protect inland human communities from damage caused by coastal erosion and storms, provide critical habitat for a variety of terrestrial, estuarine and marine species, and serve as both a source and sink for nutrients and sediments for other inshore marine habitats including seagrass beds and coral reefs. Mangrove species that form dense and often monospecific stands are considered “foundation species” that control population and ecosystem dynamics, including fluxes of energy and nutrients, hydrology, food webs, and biodiversity. Mangroves have been widely reviewed as supporting numerous ecosystem services including flood protection, nutrient and organic matter processing, sediment control, and fisheries. Mangrove forests are the economic foundations of many tropical coastal regions providing at least US$1.6 billion per year in “ecosystem services” worldwide. It is estimated that almost 80% of global fish catches are directly or indirectly dependent on mangroves. Mangroves sequester up to 25.5 million tonnes of carbon per year (where is this statistic from?) and provide more than 10% of essential organic carbon to the global oceans. Although the economic value of mangroves can be difficult to quantify, the relatively small number of mangrove species worldwide collectively provide a wealth of services and goods while occupying only 0.12% of the world's total land area. Mangrove ecosystems are the most biologically productive ecosystem on earth. They are the keystone habitats by the sea and ecologically most diverse across the tropical belt. Briefly speaking mangroves provide six essential ecological services: (1) land maturation, (2) protection of human habitation from cyclones, (3) oxygen production, (4) waste recycling, (5) food supply, and (6) carbon cycling.
What is Happening to Mangrove Ecosystems:
Despite its enormous biodiversity significance, mangroves are the most vulnerable to anthropogenic persecution due to varying degree of misconception surrounding its values to human and other animals in tropical ecoregions. With almost half (44%) of the world's population living within 150 km of a coastline, heavily populated coastal zones have spurred the widespread clearing of mangroves for coastal development, aquaculture, or resource use. At least 40% of the animal species that are restricted to mangrove habitat and have previously been assessed under IUCN Categories and Criteria are at elevated risk of extinction due to extensive habitat loss. It is estimated that 26% of mangrove forests worldwide are degraded due to over-exploitation for fuelwood and timber production. Similarly, clearing of mangroves for shrimp culture contributes ~38% of global mangrove loss, with other aquaculture accounting for another 14%. In India alone, over 40% of mangrove area on the western coast has been converted to agriculture and urban development. However the overlapping of marine and terrestrial resources in mangroves creates tenure ambiguities that complicate management and may induce conflict between competing interests. Globally, between 20% and 35% of mangrove area has been lost since approximately 1980, and mangrove areas are disappearing at the rate of approximately 1% per year with other estimates as high as 2–8% per year. These rates may be as high as or higher than rates of losses of upland tropical wet forests and current exploitation rates are expected to continue unless mangrove forests are protected as a valuable resource. Given their accelerating rate of loss, mangrove forests may at least functionally disappear in as little as 100 years. The loss of individual mangrove species is also of great concern, especially as even pristine mangrove areas are species-poor compared with other tropical plant ecosystems. However, there is very little known about the effects of either widespread or localized mangrove area loss on individual mangrove species or populations. Additionally, the identification and implementation of conservation priorities for mangroves has largely been conducted in the absence of comprehensive species-specific information, as species-specific data have not been collated or synthesized. Species information including the presence of threatened species is important for refining conservation priorities, such as the designation of critical habitat, no-take zones, or marine protected areas, or to inform policies that regulate resource extraction or coastal development. Below we have provided graphical images of native distributions of mangrove species' richness and proportion of IUCN Red List of Threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable) mangrove species respectively.
The Cost of Mangrove Species Loss:
The loss of individual mangroves species and associated ecosystem services has direct economic consequences for human livelihoods, especially in regions with low mangrove species diversity and low ecosystem resilience to species loss. In the Gulf of California, for example, where there are only 4 mangrove species present (Avicennia germinans, Rhizophora samoensis, Laguncularia racemosa, Conocarpus erectus), it is estimated that one linear kilometer of the species R. samoensis, listed as Near Threatened, provides up to 1 ha of essential marine habitat and provides a median annual value of US$37,000 in the fish and blue crab fisheries. Nutrients and carbon from mangrove forests provide essential support to other near shore marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass areas, and enrich coastal food webs and fishery production. Avicennia species are dominant in inland or basin mangrove forests in many parts of the world. However, 3 of 8 (38%) species in this genus are in threatened or Near Threatened categories. Loss of these species and the mangrove forests they dominate will have far reaching consequences for water quality and other near shore ecosystems in coastal communities around the globe. For example, water purification services provided by these mangrove species in the Muthurajawela Marsh, Sri Lanka are valued at more than $US 1.8 million per year. Riverine or freshwater-preferring species, such as the Endangered Heritiera fomes and Heritiera globosa, buffer coastal rivers and freshwater communities from sedimentation, erosion and excess nutrients. Heritiera globosa is a very rare species confined to western Borneo, while Heritiera fomes is more widespread in south Asia, but has experienced significant declines in many parts of its range. Localized or regional loss of these coastal or fringe mangrove species reduces protection for coastal areas from storms, erosion, tidal waves, and floods with the level of protection also dependent on the quality of remaining habitat. Two of 4 (50%) fringe mangrove species present in Southeastern Asia (Sonneratia griffithii, Aegiceras floridum) are listed in threatened or Near Threatened categories. In other areas, such as Brazil, the central Pacific islands, or West Africa, fringe mangrove forests are often comprised of only one or two species. Even though these species are globally listed as Least Concern, local and regional loss of mangroves in these areas will have devastating impacts for coastal communities. The loss of species may indeed be of greatest economic concern in rural, high-poverty areas where subsistence communities rely on mangrove areas for fishing and for direct harvesting of mangroves for fuel, construction or other economic products. Finally it is important to note that the amount of mangrove area in some countries is increasing due to reforestation and restoration efforts. Although regeneration of degraded mangrove areas is thought to be a viable option in some areas, successful regeneration is generally only achieved by the planting of monocultures of fast-growing species, such as Rhizophora or Avicenna species. Many rare and slow growing species are not replaced and many species cannot be easily replanted with success. In sum, mangrove areas may be able to be rehabilitated in some regions, but species and ecosystems cannot be effectively restored.
What is Megachiroptera?
Megachiroptera is one of the two suborders of mammalian order Chiroptera that is bats. Of the rich diversity of vertebrate fauna, bats are unique in being the only group of mammals that, like birds, have sustained flight. One of the 26 mammalian orders, the Chiroptera includes 1117 species of
bats world over in rather two unequal suborders - the Megachiroptera (consisting 186 species of Old
World fruit bats or flying fox in one family) and the Microchiroptera (consisting 931 species in 17 families). Megachiroptera also colloquially known as Megabats of the order Chiroptera comprises fruit bats also known as flying foxes. The Megabat, contrary to its name, is not always large: the smallest species is 6cm long and thus smaller than some microchiroptera or microbats. The largest reach 40cm in length and attain a wingspan of 1.7m, weighing in at up to 1.6kg. Most fruit bats have large eyes allowing them to orient themselves visually in twilight and inside caves and forests. Their sense of smell is excellent. In contrast to the microbats, the fruit bats do not use echolocation apart from one or two species. Megachiroptera are frugivorous or nectarivorous i.e., they eat fruits or lick nectar from flowers. Often the fruits are crushed and only the juices consumed. The teeth are adapted to bite through hard fruit skins like mangrove fruits. Large fruit bats must land to eat fruit, while the smaller species are able to hover with flapping wings in front of a flower or fruit. Frugivorous bats aid the distribution of plants (and therefore, forests) by carrying the fruits with them and spitting the seeds or eliminating them elsewhere. Nectarivores actually pollinate visited plants. They bear long tongues that are inserted deep into the flower; pollen passed to the bat is then transported to the next blossom visited, thereby pollinating it. This relationship between plants and bats is a form of mutualism known as chiropterophily.
Megachiroptera as Mangrove Pollinator
Megachiroptera comprising flying foxes or fruit bats are animals of extraordinary ecological and economic importance throughout forests of the Old World tropics. Nearly 200 species play an essential role as mangrove pollinators and seed dispersers, yet they are frequently misunderstood intensely persecuted and exceptionally vulnerable to extinction Their role in the propagation of numerous important mangrove plants remains virtually uninvestigated. However, my review of already available literature demonstrates that at least half of the total mangrove plant species (there are roughly 58 species of mangrove trees and plants that are identified and named so far) rely to varying degrees on large populations of flying foxes for propagation. These plants, in addition to their many ecological contributing produce some 448 economically valuable products. The fact that flying foxes are increasingly threatened and that few baseline data exist on population trends is cause for concern. Many appear to be in severe decline, and several species are already extinct. Old World phytophagous bats (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) number 186 species of which 79% are Asian and 21% African. Early bats were perhaps initially attracted to mangrove flowers and fruit by the insects found around them, later finding the plants themselves nutritious. Species of Megachiroptera today feed upon floral resources, fruit and leaves from a total of at least 188 plant genera in 64 families. They may effect both pollination and seed-dispersal, and both bat-flower and bat-fruit syndromes are commonly recognized. Individual species are generally catholic in their feeding, favored food varying with locality and season. Depending upon roosting habits and season, megabats may travel considerable distances each night to feed and may undertake seasonal migrations. Their feeding in essentially valuable mangrove species is now seriously threatened by habitat destruction for shrimp aquaculture farming in many South and South East Asian countries. The single Megachiropteran family, the Pteropodidae, ranges from Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands in the west, across mainland southern Asia, throughout the islands of the western Pacific from the Ryukyu Archipelago and Ogasawara-shato in the north, to coastal eastern Australia, New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands in the south, and east to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the
Cook Islands. There are over 42 genera containing of over 186 species in Megachiroptera. The largest and best known genus, Pteropus, with 57 species, is primarily an island taxon, with 55 species (96.5%) having some or all of their distribution on islands that mainly mangrove dominated coastal islands. In this genus levels of endemism are extremely high, with 35 species (61.4%) confined to single islands or small island groups. Only nine species are found in continental areas (five in Asia and four in Australia), and only
two (P. lylei and P. poliocephalus) are restricted to continents. Below are two images, one shows the Megachiroptera distribution and other one shows mangrove distribution. Combined two images together, one can appreciate how closely the Megachiroptera habitats are closely fall into mangrove habitats across the globe.
There are over 50 true mangrove species with over 100 associated species so far documented and named. The most richest diversity of mangroves is in Indo West Pacific biogeograpic realm (see image below) where species diversity is as high as 40. Notably Indo-Malayan islands pose the highest mangrove diversity where endemism if islandic Megachiroptera is high and a key contributor of the mangrove pollination. Despite the lack of ecological research linking the significant correlation of mangrove pollination by the species of fruit bats or flying foxes of the Megachiroptera guild, it is evident that mangrove and fruit bats developed an interesting symbiotic relationship that posses far reaching conservation implications for both the mangroves and the flying foxes. Below is a graphical demonstration of the proportional distribution of the mangrove species in each genus and its pollinating share by Megachiroptera of fruit bats.
Mangrove habitat loss has been cited by a number of authors as a major factor contributing to declines in fruit bat populations. Although information on habitat requirements is limited for some species, it is evident that there is considerable ecological variation within the family. Deforestation, widespread in almost all tropical mangroves of the world, has had several identifiable consequences for fruit bat populations. Many species, particularly those inhabiting mangrove swamps (e.g. Pteropus vampyrus in Malaysia and Indonesia) and lowland forest, have lost critical roosting areas. Mangrove swamps are being
destroyed by the shrimp aquaculture, woodchipping industry, firewood, and coastal development, and lowland forest is felled for agriculture and timber. For example all the 8 species of mangrove genus Sonneratia are pollinated by fruit bats and Sonneratia being commercially and socio-economically valuable mangrove tree being cleared out with dramatic population decline of the fruit bats in various mangrove ecosystems in South and South East Asia.
Mohammed Ashraf, Wildlife Biologist, Graduate of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England
Founder of the Ecoblogs, www.ecosysblogs.wordpress.com
Posted by BlogAdmin at 11:06 AM
In the mid-twentieth century, it was believed that the marine biota was inexhaustible. In recent years,it was shown that the water resource is finite and large areas of "fishing grounds" are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted to the estimated degree of over 400 "dead seas", particularly in the Baltic Sea and both coasts of the U.S..
Some of the proposed “solutions” to recover marine resources would allow the Northern Hemisphere industrial fleets to invade their areas for fishing, while simultaneously sending large fishing fleets and more technology to the "Southern Cone", where through direct agreements with rulers, signing free trade agreements, practice in essence illegal, unreported and unregulated acts of piracy in exploitation of fish stocks.
The "Tragedy of the Commons" (Hardin, 1968) is evident when transnational companies gain access to fishing underexploited seas and introduce more ships and technology to deplete the resource. Some suggest that small-scale fishermen are guilty of this "tragedy," but this kind of reasoning is merely preparing the ground to strip them of their way of life.
Another solution is aquaculture, which in the 70's flew high withg shrimp farming, which in less than 40 years wiped out more than half of the natural breeding of marine species (mangrove ecosystems and associated) crop species that occupy large tracts of land and / or sea pouring tons of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen ...) to the oceans, producing eutrofications, and along with other problems, caused negative changes in physical and chemical parameters of the water (acidification, loss of absorption of carbon dioxide ...).
In 2006 the Agency for International Development (USAID) funded an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges for the conservation of coastal marine biodiversity in Latin America, the results of which allowed you to drive in 2009 a program of five years (Task Order under the WATER II IQC) on both coasts of Central America including Belize and Panama, for which they reached an agreement with the "Central American Integration System" (SICA), adopting a neoliberal Strategic Objective: "Economic Freedom: Open, diversified and economic expansion,” whose objectives are to encourage Mechanisms: " to Secure Market-Based, Rights-Based Access to Resources" ... the latter is achieved by "Individual Transferable Fishing Quotas" (ITQs), which means that after a study of populations on a target catch marine species (lobster, conch, shark, snapper ...), we estimate the "total allowable catch" (TAC), and of this total the Government initially deals out a percentage to an individual or boat, then the beneficiary is actually granted shares with all rights attached to a property, which can be transferred by sale, lease, mortgage, inheritance etc. And with the "mechanisms" already mentioned, you can grant concessions of exclusive fishing zones for co-management (public / private, "space rights"), which are also made under the power of private enterprise. In short: Governments are like simple initial servicers, where biodiversity and marine ecosystems are privatized by domestic and / or foreign entities, promoting self-regulation of the dealers (!) Artisanal fishermen disappear and become tenants or sub employees of the owners of the CIT, the CIT alone will not meet its conservation objective and indeed the state loses its sovereignty at sea and their role of managing fisheries.
USAID, among other sources predict results by 2014 of at least 10 CIT established and running on the same number of selected commercial species. All Central American countries are adopting in their legislation the "mechanisms" to ensure the "rights" of the new owners of the seas; only 100,000 small-scale fishermen "in an extension of" at least one Million two hundred thousand have been "affected positively or negatively on both seas via this program in Central America.
The Congress of Honduras, being characterized as being very "helpful", is about to approve the dictates of USAID incorporated into the new draft "Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture" ... Will they be as "helpful" to the rest of the Central American governments ?
Jorge Varela. Sr. Verde
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:54 AM