Mangroves deliver research surprise

Rates of growth and loss in mangrove forests are higher than previous estimates, according to satellite measurements of the Rufiji, Zambezi, Ganges and Mekong deltas. And natural expansion and growth of new mangrove forests could partially compensate for declines caused by human activity.

“What we see for these types of mangrove delta regions is that there is rapid expansion and growth — in about 20 years, forest canopies can reach a mature height of over 20 m,” says David Lagomasino from the University of Maryland and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, both in the US. “In some places that fast growth can help to offset the losses, both in terms of extent of the forests and carbon density.”

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