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Young Mangrove Stands Produce a Large and High Quality Litter Input to Aquatic Systems

Abstract

Mangrove swamps are key ecosystems along the Vietnam coast. Although mangrove litter is thought to represent an important input of organic matter and nutrients to the coastal aquatic systems, the factors determining the quality and size of this litter flux have not been studied so far. We monitored leaf, stipule, twig, and reproductive litter monthly in monocultures of Rhizophora apiculata mangrove forests of 7, 11, 17 and 24 years old in the Camau province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Litter traps were used to measure litter fall production from June 2001 till May 2002. Total litter fall was in the range of 8.86–14.16 t DW ha−1 year−1. Leaves were the main component, and represented 70% of litter fall production in all stands. Total litter fall was lower in the older stands but the amount of reproductive litter was significantly higher in these stands (17 and 24 years). Biomass of leaf litter was highest between the end of the wet season and the beginning of the dry season. Phosphorus and nitrogen levels in leaf litter were significantly higher in younger than in older stands. Overall, our study indicated that young stands produced the highest input of litter and particularly of nitrogen and phosphorus to the surrounding aquatic system. Consequently, these stands contribute significantly to the fisheries.

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Correspondence to B.T. Nga.

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Nga, B., Tinh, H., Tam, D. et al. Young Mangrove Stands Produce a Large and High Quality Litter Input to Aquatic Systems. Wetlands Ecol Manage 13, 569–576 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-004-6073-4

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Key words

  • Biomass
  • Mangrove
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Vietnam