19 August 2010

Best map of mangroves reveals true global decline

The most comprehensive and exact data on mangrove forests globally has just been published.
Ganges River Delta from Rivers Seen from Space on Wired Science 22 Mar 10

Some of the key findings include:
  • Mangrove distribution is 12% smaller than earlier estimates.
  • Much of the mangroves "is in a degraded condition".
  • 35% of mangrove forests were lost from 1980 to 2000
  • 75% of the remaining forest is found in just 15 countries, out of which only about 6% is protected.
  • Asia has 42% of the world's mangroves, followed by 21% in Africa, 15% in North and Central America, 12% in Oceania and 11% in South America.
The research, carried out by scientists from the U.S Geological Survey and NASA, is published in Global Ecology and Biogeography. This work represents the most comprehensive global database of mangrove forests ever created. "The mapping of mangrove forests at this resolution, on a global scale, has never been attempted, partly due to cost and computation limitations." The study shows there are 137, 760 km2 of mangroves, substantially less than previous estimates.

Full article on wildsingapore news.

See more photos of mangroves and river deltas on Rivers Seen from Space on Wired Science 22 Mar 10

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