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Misconceptions of mangrove ecology and their implications on conservation and management

Mala D. Amarasinghe
2018 Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Sciences  
Being uniquely located in the harsh inter-tidal zone between land and sea, mangroves have long been considered mosquito-infested stinky and muddy environments, that can be made worthy only through "development" and converted to land suitable for other lucrative land uses such as coconut cultivation, homestead/ urban/ tourism related infrastructure development. Mangrove ecological research initiated in Florida in the late 60's gave an insight over their ecological value and their potential
more » ... eir potential positive influence on fisheries (secondary productivity) of estuaries and coastal waters through nutrient cycling. Apart from taxonomic and biogeographic studies, considerable research effort has since been devoted globally that has elucidated the nature of ecological functions of mangrove ecosystems ranging from primary productivity and carbon sequestration to nutrient cycling and maintenance of coastal biodiversity that has generated an invaluable knowledge base useful to draw up sustainable plans to conserve mangroves which are under heavy anthropogenic pressure. A few misconceptions however are often encountered with regard to characterization of mangrove habitats and species exclusive to them that inflict far-reaching negative impacts on mangrove conservation. This paper analyses them with the available scientific knowledge base and identifies the potential driving forces that contribute to pseudo-science that leads to eventual loss of mangroves and their invaluable ecological functions.
doi:10.4038/sljas.v23i1.7544 fatcat:zxcze3vvcjcyrpdeg466jncx5y