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Mangrove loss and gain in a densely populated urban estuary: lessons from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
Wang, H.; Peng, Y.; Wang, C.; Wen, Q.; Xu, J.; Hu, Z.; Jia, X.; Zhao, X.; Lian, W.; Temmerman, S.; Wolf, J.; Bouma, T.J. (2021). Mangrove loss and gain in a densely populated urban estuary: lessons from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Front. Mar. Sci. 8: 693450.
In: Frontiers in Marine Science. Frontiers Media: Lausanne. e-ISSN 2296-7745, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    mangrove; human activities; Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area; afforestation; estuary; mega-cities

Auteurs  Top 
  • Wang, H.
  • Peng, Y.
  • Wang, C., meer
  • Wen, Q.
  • Xu, J.
  • Hu, Z., meer
  • Jia, X.
  • Zhao, X.
  • Lian, W.
  • Temmerman, S., meer
  • Wolf, J.
  • Bouma, T.J., meer

    Understanding the recent changes in mangrove adjacent to mega-cities is critical for conservation, management, and policymaking in coastal zones with fast population growth and global change. Here we investigated mangrove area changes in one of the world’s largest urban areas near the main estuaries in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Mangrove area changes are quantified for the period 1990–2018 by analyzing multiple sources of satellite images by classification algorithms. We found that estuarine mangrove area dynamics are driven by human actions and are contrasting between these two periods. (1) During 1990–2000, the estuarine mangrove area approximately decreased from 11.5 to 6.9 km2, among which the bulk part was transformed into aquaculture ponds (41.1%) and built-up area (29.9%). (2) During 2000–2018, the estuarine mangrove area rapidly increased to 18.3 km2 resulting from the protection and restoration efforts. Proportions of mangrove occurring in nature reserves increased from 37.5% in 1990 to >80% in the 2000s. Two major mangrove expansion ways, natural establishment (NE, in protected areas without any human interference) and human afforestation (HA) accounted almost equally (53.1 and 46.9%) for the gained estuarine mangrove area during 2010–2018. A future projection according to the current mangrove increasing rate suggests that all the low-lying land that is theoretically suitable for mangrove afforestation would be used up by 2060. Although afforestation has contributed to important gains in mangrove quantity, we highlight that it may also imply decreased habitat quality. It has resulted in a great occupation of high tidal mudflats and a loss of their valuable ecosystem services, and it may lead to spreading of non-native species, e.g., Sonneratia apetala, used in afforestation programs. Future restoration approaches should adopt more eco-friendly strategies, like reversing (abandoned) aquaculture ponds to native mangrove forests. Knowledge obtained from the GBA in this study may be also instrumental to ecological restorations for mangrove forests in other urbanized estuaries.

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