11 Mangrove Shorelines

Colin D. Woodroffe1, Catherine E. Lovelock2 and Kerrylee Rogers1

1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia2The School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia

11.1 Introduction

Mangroves are trees or shrubs that occur in the upper intertidal zone on many low-energy tropical shorelines. Globally they cover 137,760 km2 (Giri et al., 2011). Salt marshes and other coastal wetlands may occur landwards of mangrove vegetation, and seagrass may be extensive seawards. Mangroves are not a single taxonomic group, but comprise a diverse range of plants with adaptations enabling survival in this otherwise inhospitable saline and anaerobic environment. Mangrove forests are highly productive ecosystems that support both terrestrial and marine biodiversity. They are important habitats for fish and crustaceans on which humans are dependent. They also provide many other ecosystem services; both direct, in terms of timber and fuel; and indirect, by supporting biodiversity, providing physical protection of coasts, retaining sediments, and regulating nutrient and carbon exchange between terrestrial and marine environments.

Mangrove forests are best developed where extensive near-horizontal topography occurs close to sea level. They cover substantial areas where there is a large tidal range; however, there are instances where isolated stands of mangroves persist inland where ...

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