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Intra- and interspecific facilitation in mangroves may increase resilience to climate change threats

Huxham, Mark; Kumara, Marappullige P; Jayatissa, Loku P; Krauss, Ken W; Kairo, James G; Lang'at, Joseph Kipkorir Sigi; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Skov, Martin W; Kirui, Bernard K Y


Marappullige P Kumara

Loku P Jayatissa

Ken W Krauss

James G Kairo

Joseph Kipkorir Sigi Lang'at

Maurizio Mencuccini

Martin W Skov

Bernard K Y Kirui


Mangroves are intertidal ecosystems that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. At the low tidal limits of their range, they face swamping by rising sea levels; at the high tidal limits, they face increasing stress from desiccation and high salinity. Facilitation theory may help guide mangrove management and restoration in the face of these threats by suggesting how and when positive intra- and interspecific effects may occur: such effects are predicted in stressed environments such as the intertidal, but have yet to be shown among mangroves. Here, we report the results of a series of experiments at low and high tidal sites examining the effects of mangrove density and species mix on seedling survival and recruitment, and on the ability of mangroves to trap sediment and cause surface elevation change. Increasing density significantly increased the survival of seedlings of two different species at both high and low tidal sites, and enhanced sediment accretion and elevation at the low tidal site. Including Avicennia marina in species mixes enhanced total biomass at a degraded high tidal site. Increasing biomass led to changed microenvironments that allowed the recruitment and survival of different mangrove species, particularly Ceriops tagal.


Huxham, M., Kumara, M. P., Jayatissa, L. P., Krauss, K. W., Kairo, J. G., Lang'at, J. K. S., …Kirui, B. K. Y. (2010). Intra- and interspecific facilitation in mangroves may increase resilience to climate change threats. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 365, 2127-2135.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2014
Print ISSN 0962-8436
Electronic ISSN 1471-2970
Publisher Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 365
Pages 2127-2135
Keywords mangrove; facilitation; intertidal; salinity; density; sediment;
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