1 Introduction</h5> Mangroves are the only woody plants to grow in the intertidal zone. They occur throughout tropical and subtropical latitudes where they may form extensive forests, particularly in sheltered bays and deltas. Their global extent, approximately 138,000 km 2 ( Giri et al., 2011 ), is shrinking by around 0.7% per year, but this figure underestimates the problem since it applies only to complete removal of the forest and does not capture forest degradation. Causes of mangrove decline include shrimp aquaculture, conversion for tourism and coastal infrastructure, commercial extraction of timber and extensive but persistent extraction of wood for fuel and building materials. Climate change, and in particular sea level rise, is likely to exacerbate these impacts over the next century ( Gilman et al., 2008 ).</P>Many studies have documented the impressive array of ecosystem services provided by mangroves. These include provisioning (such as fish, timber and medicines), cultural (such as spiritual sites and tourist attractions) and regulating (such as coastal protection and carbon sequestration). The continued destruction of the forests, despite their well-documented ecological value, has become a cause celebre amongst conservationists and is used to illustrate irrational or short-term planning (in for example the Millennium
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2015
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