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Are we failing to protect threatened mangroves in the Sundarbans world heritage ecosystem?

Sarker, Swapan K.; Reeve, Richard; Thompson, Jill; Paul, Nirmal K.; Matthiopoulos, Jason. 2016 Are we failing to protect threatened mangroves in the Sundarbans world heritage ecosystem? Scientific Reports, 6, 21234. 12, pp. 10.1038/srep21234

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Abstract/Summary

The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world, is under threat from historical and future human exploitation and sea level rise. Limited scientific knowledge on the spatial ecology of the mangroves in this world heritage ecosystem has been a major impediment to conservation efforts. Here, for the first time, we report on habitat suitability analyses and spatial density maps for the four most prominent mangrove species - Heritiera fomes, Excoecaria agallocha, Ceriops decandra and Xylocarpus mekongensis. Globally endangered H. fomes abundances declined as salinity increased. Responses to nutrients, elevation, and stem density varied between species. H. fomes and X. mekongensis preferred upstream habitats. E. agallocha and C. decandra preferred down-stream and mid-stream habitats. Historical harvesting had negative influences on H. fomes, C. decandra and X. mekongensis abundances. The established protected area network does not support the most suitable habitats of these threatened species. We therefore recommend a reconfiguration of the network to include these suitable habitats and ensure their immediate protection. These novel habitat insights and spatial predictions can form the basis for future forest studies and spatial conservation planning, and have implications for more effective conservation of the Sundarbans mangroves and the many other species that rely on them.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/srep21234
CEH Sections: Watt
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: Sundarbans, mangroves, world heritage ecosystem, conservation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 07 Mar 2016 14:16 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/513131

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