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Centro De Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste: Mangrove Conservation
Conservation of arid mangrove ecosystems in Baja California Sur, Mexico

The mangrove tree is the basic and most visible component of the mangrove ecosystem growing in the intertidal zone. The term "mangrove" is used to name both the trees and the community that is composed of a wide range of organisms belonging to different systematic groups. They include bacteria, fungi, microalgae, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. The mangrove ecosystems cover roughly 60-75% of tropical and subtropical coastlines. Brazil, Indonesia, and Australia have the largest abundance of mangroves. All countries in Latin America, both on the Atlantic and the Pacific, have mangroves covering about 4,000,000 hectares. Baja California Sur, Mexico is the northern distribution area on the Pacific side of the Americas.

The importance of mangroves for fisheries is not because of the total biomass of organisms captured within the ecosystem but the role of the mangrove as breeding, growing, refuge, and feeding zones for marine organisms that may later migrate to adjacent coastal waters or to the ocean.

To fully appreciate the uniqueness of these organisms, take a look at the page of amazing facts about mangroves.

Mangrove ecosystems are dramatically shrinking as a result of logging, aquaculture (mainly shrimp cultivation), charcoal production, coastal engineering projects, agriculture and unregulated deposition of pollutants into the wetlands.

The ongoing uncontrolled destruction of mangrove forests is predicted to have a major impact on mangrove ecosystem structure and functioning and consequently on the decline in production of economically important fish and shellfish. We present here some viable conservation proposals.

If you wish to delve more deeply into the subject, here is a list of additional readings.

Contact information:

Dr. Yoav Bashan

Design & production: Larry Miller

Version: 25 June 2000