Resilience in a Mexican Pacific Mangrove after Hurricanes: Implications for Conservation Restoration
Journal of Environmental Protection
High resilience is a mangrove trait that is compatible with life in a dynamic environment, however, catastrophic disturbance can lead to the entire forest structure being re-defined. In the Pochutla district of Oaxaca, two hurricanes made landfall in 1997 and one more in 2012. Following the 1997 hurricanes, extensive mangrove restoration was carried out in the study area. A cohort of Rhizophora mangle saplings planted in 2007 showed 10% mortality during the first year after transplantation, an
... ransplantation, an average growth of 39 cm, and a positive association between growth rate and the level of water in the lagoon. Following Hurricane Carlotta of 2012, measurements of structural impact and tree mortality were taken in restored R. mangle stands and in naturally regenerated patches of Laguncularia racemosa. The role of tree girth in R. mangle susceptibility to wind damage was also investigated. The stands of R. mangle suffered 80% reduction in stem density and 86% loss of basal area, whereas the corresponding values for L. racemosa were 26% and 15%, respectively. Within stands of R. mangle, mortality conserved a positive relationship with structural impact categories and the frequency of snapped stems was segregated across girth classes. The results suggest that L. racemosa has greater resilience to hurricane damage, which has some consistency with previous research and implications for conservation restoration protocols. In order to promote a system with higher resilience, we recommend an on-going restoration effort with mixed mangrove species.