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Mangroves may shelter some corals from global warming

Study documents ‘climate refuge’ in Virgin Islands

Boulder brain corals, for example, were found in abundance under the mangroves and were healthy, while many of those in unshaded areas a short distance away were bleaching. Photo Credit: Caroline Rogers, USGS

Boulder brain corals were found in abundance under the mangroves and were healthy, while many of those in unshaded areas a short distance away were bleaching.
Photo Credit: Caroline Rogers, USGS.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some coral species are finding a refuge of sorts from global warming by finding new habitat in the shade of red mangrove trees.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Eckerd College documented discovery of the refuge in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where more than 30 species of reef corals were found growing in Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John. Continue reading

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Stunning mangrove losses in Bangladesh and India

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A Landsat 7 image of Sundarbans, released by NASA Earth Observatory.

Coastline losses in the Sundarbans reaches 200 meters per year

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Coastal development and climate change are eating away at the Sundarbans, the largest block of mangroves in the world, stretched along the coast of India and Bangladesh. In some areas, up to 200 meters of coast are disappearing annually, according to a report from the Zoological Society of London.

The losses are affecting the area’s natural protection from tidal waves and cyclones This will inevitably lead to species loss in this richly biodiverse part of the world, the scientists said.

“Our results indicate a rapidly retreating coastline that cannot be accounted for by the regular dynamics of the Sundarbans. Degradation is happening fast, weakening this natural shield for India and Bangladesh,” said  ZSL’s Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, senior author of the paper. Continue reading

Mangrove conversion takes huge environmental toll

New policy brief outlines benefits of mangrove conservation

A tidal mangrove forest in Belize. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Conversion of mangrove forests is taking a huge toll on coastal ecosystems, an international team of researchers said, warning that replacing tidal forest with shrimp farms and other forms of development is a bad economic tradeoff both short and long-term.

“The benefits of this industry have too often been short lived due to poor planning with ponds being abandoned when pollution or disease take hold, leaving unproductive saline pools and depleted coastal fisheries,” said Hanneke Van Lavieren, a United Nations University scientist who was the lead author of the recent policy brief. Continue reading

Mangrove forests tabbed as key carbon sinks

New research highlights importance of coastal preservation

New research show mangrove forests are some of the world's most important carbon sinks.

By Summit Voice

Coastal mangrove forests store more carbon than almost any other forest on Earth, according to a study conducted by a team of U.S. Forest Service and university scientists. Their findings are published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

A research team from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest and Northern research stations, University of Helsinki and the Center for International Forestry Research examined the carbon content of 25 mangrove forests across the Indo-Pacific region and found that per hectare, mangrove forests store up to four times more carbon than most other tropical forests around the world.

“Mangroves have long been known as extremely productive ecosystems that cycle carbon quickly, but until now there had been no estimate of how much carbon resides in these systems. That’s essential information because when land-use change occurs, much of that standing carbon stock can be released to the atmosphere,” says Daniel Donato, a postdoctoral research ecologist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station in Hilo, Hawaii. Continue reading

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