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Exceptionally high mangrove root production rates in the Kelantan Delta, Malaysia; An experimental and comparative study

Muhammad Nor, Siti Mariam; Huxham, Mark; Salmon, Yann; Duddy, Symone Jade; Mazars-Simon, Alban; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Meir, Patrick; Jackson, Gail


Siti Mariam Muhammad Nor

Yann Salmon

Symone Jade Duddy

Alban Mazars-Simon

Maurizio Mencuccini

Patrick Meir

Gail Jackson


Mangroves often allocate a relatively large proportion of their total biomass production to their roots, and the belowground biomass of these forests contributes towards globally significant carbon sinks. However, little information is available on root production in mangroves due to the difficulties in carrying out measurements of belowground processes, particularly if there is regular flooding. In this study, we examined fine and coarse root production in the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. Ingrowth cores were used over the course of 17 months. In September 2014, twenty cores were randomly placed in each of five plots. Three cores were collected from each plot (fifteen cores in total), once every three months. Each core was divided into five 10 cm layers and root dry mass was recorded. Standing root biomass was also measured at the time of final collection using an additional 15 cores. There was a seasonal pattern in root production, which peaked in March and December 2015, after and during the monsoon season. Root biomass in the cores peaked at 33.23 ± 6.3 t ha-1 and 21.46 ± 7.3 t ha-1 in March and December respectively. Standing root biomass in February 2016 in the forest was 20.81 ± 2.8 t ha-1. After 17 months, the final root biomass in the cores was 14% less than the standing root biomass. These data suggest surprisingly rapid growth rates and turnover for mangrove roots. Total root biomass significantly increased with root depth and 78% of the roots, in all soil layers, consisted of fine roots (< 3 mm diameter). Soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations were investigated in relation to belowground production, as were soil temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen. A data review of global studies reporting similar work was carried out. The results are discussed with consideration to the significance of monsoon rainfall for mangrove ecology.


Muhammad Nor, S. M., Huxham, M., Salmon, Y., Duddy, S. J., Mazars-Simon, A., Mencuccini, M., …Jackson, G. (2019). Exceptionally high mangrove root production rates in the Kelantan Delta, Malaysia; An experimental and comparative study. Forest Ecology and Management, 444, 214-224.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2019
Online Publication Date May 1, 2019
Publication Date Jul 15, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 7, 2020
Journal Forest Ecology and Management
Print ISSN 0378-1127
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 444
Pages 214-224
Keywords Root stock, root production, allocation above ground, allocation below ground, 61 monsoon season, rapid root turnover,
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