Are Peri-Urban Mangroves Vulnerable? An Assessment Through Litter Fall Studies

  • Mohamed Omar Said MohamedEmail author
  • Perrine Mangion
  • Steve Mwangi
  • James Gitundu Kairo
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Nico Koedam
Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)


The productivity of an over-exploited and sewage polluted peri-urban mangrove was assessed through litter fall studies to establish vulnerability to human actions and climate change. Litter from three common mangrove species, Rhizophora mucronata Lam. (Rhizophoraceae), Sonneratia alba Sm. (Sonneratiaceae), and Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. (Avicenniaceae) were monitored over a period of two years. The mean annual litter fall was estimated at 12.16 ± 2.89 t ha−1yr−1. Litter fall was seasonal in both content and quantity, with high rates occurring in the dry North Easterly Monsoon (NEM) season, January-April (ca. 5.10 ± 1.36 g DW m−2 day−1) and lower rates in the cool and wet South Easterly Monsoon (SEM) season, June-October (ca. 2.53 ± 0.47 g DW m−2 day−1). Litter fall varied significantly between species, R. mucronata recording the highest annual rate (15.34 ± 3.34 t ha−1yr−1), with no significant difference between A. marina and S. alba, (11.44 ± 2.90 and 9.69 ± 5.26 t ha−1yr−1 respectively). Sewage exposure did not affect litter fall rates for all species, but affected leaf nutrient content as expressed by the leaf δ15N signature. A strong correlation between leaf C:N ratio and leaf δ15N signature was observed, indicating a more open N cycle, favouring δ15N accumulation. Sewage exposure therefore does not necessarily translate into elevated productivity in mangroves, but causes alteration of leaf nutrient content depending on species. Prevailing climatic conditions however, may influence litter fall and thus phenology and health of the system. The vulnerability of the Tudor Creek mangroves to climate change may be ranked high due to low production (20%<) of reproductive materials and a die back of seaward fringe S. alba stand.


Phenology Peri-urban Sewage Vulnerability δ15Climate 



We express our appreciation to the local communities for their support in the sampling campaigns, and colleagues at KMFRI and KWS Coast Region Research station. The work described in this thesis was supported by a PhD. Scholarship from the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) in Belgium and the EU funded PUMPSEA project (FP6 – INCO contract no. 510863). Further reanalysis of the data was done through funding from WIOMSA MASMA funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Perrine Mangion
    • 2
  • Steve Mwangi
    • 3
  • James Gitundu Kairo
    • 3
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nico Koedam
    • 4
  1. 1.Wetlands and Marine Conservation, Parks and ReservesKenya Wildlife ServiceNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry (ANCH)Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research InstituteMombasaKenya
  4. 4.Laboratory of General Botany and Nature Management, Mangrove Management GroupVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Département de Biologie des OrganismesUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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