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MEPS - Vol. 465 - Feature article
Restoration of biodiversity in degraded coastal sites in Gazi Bay, Kenya, is driven by mangrove species that easily adapt to the prevailing environmental conditions. Photo: Martin Skov

Kirui BKY, Kairo JG, Skov MW, Mencuccini M, Huxham M

 

Effects of species richness, identity and environmental variables on growth in planted mangroves in Kenya

 

Ecosystem function is widely impaired by the effects of anthropogenic impacts, such as depletion of biodiversity. In a long-term experiment at a degraded coastal site in Kenya, Kirui and colleagues found that the mangrove Avicennia marina drives productivity and acts as a ‘restoration superplant’. Plots with a mix of mangrove species had lower biomass than monospecific A. marina plots. Nevertheless, with time, mixed mangrove plots showed complementarity, as in terrestrial forests; thus suggesting that mangrove diversity is important too. Kirui and colleagues also found that the biodiversity-ecosystem function effects are strongly modified by environmental conditions; in this case salinity was the main driving factor.

 

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