Marine Biology

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 147–155 | Cite as

Mangrove forest structure and productivity in the Fly River estuary, Papua New Guinea

  • A. I. Robertson
  • P. A. Daniel
  • P. Dixon


In April, July and August 1989 and February 1990, the delta region of the Fly River was surveyed to establish the aerial extent of mangrove forests, their species composition, tree densities and basal areas, and potential net primary production. Mangrove forests cover 87 400 ha, mainly on islands within the delta. Twentynine mangrove plant species were recorded, but there were only three major forest types in the delta.Rhizophora apiculata-Bruguiera parviflora forests (hereafterRhizophora-Bruguiera forests) predominated in regions where river water salinities were >10‰. These forests covered 31 500 ha and had mean total tree densities and basal areas of 2027 stems ha−1 and 21 m2 ha−1, respectively. Forests of the palmNypa fruticans (hereafterNypa forests) covered 38 400 ha, mainly in regions where river salinities were ~1 to 10‰, and had mean total densities and basal areas of 4431 stems ha−1 and 38 m2 ha−1, respectively. Forests dominated byAvicennia marina and/orSonneratia lanceolata (hereafterAvicennia-Sonneratia forests) predominated on accreting banks of sediment and covered 17 500 ha. In very low-salinity (< 1‰) regions there are large monospecific stands ofS. lanceolata. Mean total densities and basal areas forAvicennia-Sonneratia forests were 7036 stems ha−1 and 22 m2 ha−1, respectively. Mean net primary productivity (kg C ha−1 d−1) was estimated to be 26.7, 27.1 and 19.0 forRhizophora-Bruguiera, Nypa andAvicennia-Sonneratia forests, respectively. Total daily net primary production by all mangrove forests was estimated at 2214 t carbon. Using assumptions based on work in tropical Australia, it was estimated that ~678 t carbon (or 31% of primary production) were exported daily from mangrove forests to the waters of the delta.


Basal Area Forest Type River Estuary Tree Density Mangrove Forest 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. I. Robertson
    • 1
  • P. A. Daniel
    • 1
  • P. Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville M.C.Australia

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