Are we failing to protect threatened mangroves in the Sundarbans world heritage ecosystem?

Sarker, S. K., Reeve, R. , Thompson, J., Paul, N. K. and Matthiopoulos, J. (2016) Are we failing to protect threatened mangroves in the Sundarbans world heritage ecosystem? Scientific Reports, 6, 21234. (doi:10.1038/srep21234) (PMID:26878801) (PMCID:PMC4754640)

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Abstract

The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world, is under threat from historical and future human exploitation and sea level rise. Limited scientific knowledge on the spatial ecology of the mangroves in this world heritage ecosystem has been a major impediment to conservation efforts. Here, for the first time, we report on habitat suitability analyses and spatial density maps for the four most prominent mangrove species - Heritiera fomes, Excoecaria agallocha, Ceriops decandra and Xylocarpus mekongensis. Globally endangered H. fomes abundances declined as salinity increased. Responses to nutrients, elevation, and stem density varied between species. H. fomes and X. mekongensis preferred upstream habitats. E. agallocha and C. decandra preferred down-stream and mid-stream habitats. Historical harvesting had negative influences on H. fomes, C. decandra and X. mekongensis abundances. The established protected area network does not support the most suitable habitats of these threatened species. We therefore recommend a reconfiguration of the network to include these suitable habitats and ensure their immediate protection. These novel habitat insights and spatial predictions can form the basis for future forest studies and spatial conservation planning, and have implications for more effective conservation of the Sundarbans mangroves and the many other species that rely on them.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The paper acknowledges (Reference: BDCA-2013-6) of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, United Kingdom. This funding is via http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/ who pay fees direct to students.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Reeve, Dr Richard and Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason and Sarker, Swapan Kumar
Authors: Sarker, S. K., Reeve, R., Thompson, J., Paul, N. K., and Matthiopoulos, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Sarker, S. K. et al.
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 6:21234
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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