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Pacific Island Mangroves: Distribution and Environmental Settings

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Title: Pacific Island Mangroves: Distribution and Environmental Settings
Authors: Woodroffe, Colin D.
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Woodroffe CD. 1987. Pacific island mangroves: distribution and environmental settings. Pac Sci 41: 166-185.
Abstract: Mangroves, absent from many small, "low" islands and from
most of Polynesia, do not cover large areas on Pacific islands, and show rapid
decrease in species diversity and stature across the Pacific. Preliminary data
indicate that where they do occur they may be as productive, particularly in terms
of detritus per unit area, as more luxuriant mangrove forests elsewhere. Oscillations
of sea level during the Quaternary have disrupted the distribution of mangroves
and present mangrove swamps are shown to have developed and extended
substantially during the late Holocene in each of four environmental settings: i)
deltaic/estuarine mangroves, ii) mangroves of embayments/harbors/lagoons,
iii) mangroves of reef flats, iv) inland mangroves and mangrove depressions.
These are ranked in order from i) to iv), from highest to lowest, in terms of
landform and mangrove habitat diversity, rates of sedimentation, opportunities
for freshwater nutrient input and enhanced productivity, and, it is argued,
potential for organic carbon flux and trophic diversity. Structure and functioning
of the mangrove ecosystem differs between settings. Restricted stands of mangroves,
such as those inland on "low" islands or atolls, are unlikely to export
quantities of organic carbon, but nevertheless are productive and support resources
which can play an important role in the subsistence economy of the local
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 41, Numbers 1-4, 1987

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