|Managing mangroves for resilience to climate change|
Mcleod, E.; Salm, R. V. (2006). Managing mangroves for resilience to climate change. IUCN The World Conservation Union: Switzerland. ISBN 978-2-8317-0953-6. 66 pp.
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As anyone who has spent any amount of time in mangroves knows, these forests are some of the toughest places on earth. Subject to rapid daily, monthly, and annual variation in their physical environment, they have a remarkable ability to cope with extraordinary levels and types of stress. The innate resilience of mangroves to cope with change is a requirement of their niche. Unfortunately, we have largely ignored that attribute in devising mangrove management programs or in regulating (and not regulating) their use and exploitation. Few management schemes adequately consider the effects of upstream development on sediment supply and even fewer consider the cumulative effects of mangrove clearing on connectivity over ecologically meaningful scales. Perhaps even more telling is the lack of attention to the synergistic effects of human-induced and natural change. The damage caused by the tragic 2004 Asian tsunami was exacerbated by over clearing of mangroves and other coastal “bioshields”, inappropriate coastal development and inadequate information and preparedness. Imagine for a moment, just how devastating those same factors may be in a future world where sea levels may be higher, protective mangrove forests even less intact and coastal nations unsure about how changed meteorological and oceanic processes will combine. If the millions of coastal residents who benefit from the services provided by mangroves are to survive and continue to enjoy the enormous benefits provided by healthy mangroves, then we need to quickly and proactively develop climate change-oriented mangrove management programs. This publication is a most welcome reference for all stakeholders in mangroves, especially coastal communities, who should now ask decision-makers to apply resilience principles in all development and conservation programs.