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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 465:1-10 (2012)  -  DOI:

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

Bernard Y. K. Kirui1,*, James G. Kairo1, Martin W. Skov2, Maurizio Mencuccini3, Mark Huxham4

1Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, PO Box 81651, Mombasa, Kenya
2School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, Anglesey LL59 5AB, Bangor, UK
3School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JN, UK
4School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK

ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity across a wide range of ecosystems are well documented; however the responses of ecosystems to reduced diversity are still poorly understood. We investigated the effects of species richness, species identity and environmental variables on aboveground biomass increment using replanted mangroves at Gazi Bay, Kenya. We planted 32 plots (36 m2) with 8 treatments: all possible combinations of the trees Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, and Ceriops tagal and an unplanted control. Trees were planted in July and August 2004 and monitored annually until 2009. Growth was slow in the first 2 yr of the study, but by 2007 there was a significant treatment effect on aboveground biomass. A. marina showed strong competitive traits, with the best growth overall and enhanced growth of individual trees when planted in mixed species plots. The highest biomass was recorded in 3-species mixes; partitioning the net effects of species mixing showed a strong species selection effect, but there was also a complementarity effect in some of the three species plots. Biomass was positively correlated with presence of A. marina and negatively correlated with sediment salinity. We conclude that there is variation in the stages of plant development at which species richness effects manifest themselves; in addition the effects of environmental variables have a bearing on the nature and direction of the relationship between species richness and ecosystem function.

KEY WORDS: Biomass · Facilitation · Kenya · Mangrove reforestation · Saplings · Species richness · Ecosystem function

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Cite this article as: Kirui BKY, Kairo JG, Skov MW, Mencuccini M, Huxham M (2012) Effects of species richness, identity and environmental variables on growth in planted mangroves in Kenya. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 465:1-10.

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