Depletion of the mangroves of Continental Asia
- Cite this article as:
- Blasco, F., Aizpuru, M. & Gers, C. Wetlands Ecology and Management (2001) 9: 255. doi:10.1023/A:1011169025815
The mangroves located around the Bay of Bengal and along the coast ofSouth China Sea are of special interest for many reasons. This coastlinereceives three major tropical rivers (Ganges, Irrawaddy, Mekong) and it hasthe world's largest mangrove stands in a single block (the Sunderbans). Thecontrasted climatic conditions from sub-arid (southeastern India), to moist(coastal Cambodia), and the extreme diversity of human impacts in one ofthe world's highest population densities (West Bengal in India andBangladesh), have created a mosaic of mangrove types that are floristicallyrich and with different histories, different ecological frameworks and distinct evolutionary trends.For the first time, we draw together remote sensing data along withessential structural and physiognomic parameters of mangrove forest areas.We have devised a sufficiently accurate coastal mapping methodologyproviding statistics on the actual areal extent of mangrove types andsub-types, both at local and continental scales. Some results are entirelynew, and others provide comparison with existing data. The exact extentof mangroves in Myanmar was previously unknown. Using remote sensingwe also demonstrate the magnitude of the ongoing deforestation in thiscountry. The current location and status of mangrove forests in the affectedarea are described using the methodology which is also being applied inother sites around the world.