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Urban Mangrove Biology and Ecology: Emergent Patterns and Management Implications

  • Benjamin Branoff
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 25)

Abstract

Tropical coastlines will see some of the greatest urbanization rates of the twenty first century, presenting a particular threat to the management of mangrove ecosystems. This is compounded by a significant void in our understanding of how urban mangroves function. Although mangrove responses to urban environments around the world have been recorded for roughly 35 years, there remains no model describing these systems. Collectively, these studies suggest urban mangroves are characterized by patchy and mixed vegetation forests within expanding suburban fringes, but more stable and expanding forests in older city centers. Where municipal sewage is disposed, a significant body of evidence suggests enrichment of anthropogenically derived nitrogen in mangrove plant tissues. Further, benthic faunal communities in these systems are influenced by sewage effluent. Much of this is likely due to changes in nutrient inputs in these systems; however, it is also due to toxicity from heavy metals and hydrocarbons. These contaminants may also be influencing mangrove physiology and growth, although this has yet to be shown in situ. Urban faunal communities of fin-fish and birds also respond to differences in habitat and resource availability of urban mangroves. This chapter reviews the literature on urban mangroves, revealing emergent patterns that are at times confirmed by empirical evidence. These patterns are then synthesized in an urban mangrove model. Through continuing studies and the development of this model, future mangrove management along urbanizing coasts will be much more effective at optimizing ecosystem services and creating more sustainable social-ecological mangrove systems.

Keywords

Urban mangroves Anthropocene Social-ecological systems Novel mangroves 

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Puerto Rico-Río PiedrasSan JuanPuerto Rico

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