Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 243–255 | Cite as

Mangrove forests in a peri-urban setting: the case of Mombasa (Kenya)

  • Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed
  • Griet Neukermans
  • James Gitundu Kairo
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Nico Koedam
Original Paper


The structure and regeneration patterns of the peri-urban mangrove vegetation of Mombasa at Tudor creek were studied along belt transects at two forest sites of Kombeni and Tsalu. Based on the species importance values, the dominant mangrove species were Rhizophora mucronata Lam. (Rhizophoraceae) and Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. (Avicenniaceae). Lumnitzera racemosa Willd., reported in an earlier floristic survey, was not encountered. Tree density varied from 1,264 trees ha–1 at Kombeni to 1,301 trees ha–1 at Tsalu and mean tree height was higher at the former site compared to the latter. The size-class structure at both localities showed the numerical dominance of small trees over larger trees. The spatial distribution pattern of adults and juveniles varied greatly between sites and showed a close to uniform pattern (Morisita’s Index I δ ≪ 1) for adult trees, but a tendency to clustered distribution (I δ ≫ 1) for juveniles. The present paper shows that unmanaged but exploited peri-urban mangroves are structurally stressed, having enlarged canopy gaps that are characterised by spatial and temporal site heterogeneity that influences regeneration, implying longer periods for canopy closure. Diversifying uses of mangrove products and establishing reserves as no cut zones with regulated harvesting will minimise canopy gap sizes, and promote conservation practices. The proposed management strategy shall boost the ecosystem resilience to both anthropogenic and natural stressors expected in the peri-urban setting in the long run.


Anthropogenic Canopy gaps Peri-urban Regeneration 



We express our appreciation to the local communities for their support in the sampling campaigns, and colleagues at KMFRI and KWS Coast Region Research station. The work described in this paper was supported by a PhD. Scholarship from the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) in Belgium and the EU funded PUMPSEA project (FP6-INCO contract no. 510863).


  1. Abuodha PAW, Kairo JG (2001) Human-induced stresses on mangrove swamps along the Kenyan coast. Hydrobiologia 458:255–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen JA, Ewel KC, Jack J (2001) Patterns of natural and anthropogenic disturbance of the mangroves on the Pacific island of Kosrae. Wetlands Ecol Manage 9:279–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alongi DM (2002) Present state and future of the world’s mangrove forests. Environ Conserv 29(3):331–349Google Scholar
  4. Alongi DM, de Carvalho NA (2008) The effect of small-scale logging on stand characteristics and soil biogeochemistry in mangrove forests of Timor Leste. For Ecol Manage 255:1359–1366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbier EB (2000) Valuing the environment as input: review of applications to mangrove-fishery linkages. Ecol Econ 35:47–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benfield SL, Guzman HM, Mair JM (2005) Temporal mangrove dynamics in relation to coastal development in Pacific Panama. J Environ Manage 76:263–276PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boonsong K, Plyatiratitivorakul S, Patanapompalboon P (2003) Potential use of mangrove plantation as constructed wetland for municipal wastewater treatment. Water Sci Technol 48(5):257–266PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bosire JO, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Kairo JG, Koedam N (2003) Colonization of non-planted mangrove species into restored mangrove stands in Gazi bay, Kenya. Aquat Bot 76:267–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bosire JO, Kairo JG, Kazungu J, Koedam N, Dahdouh-Guebas F (2005) Predation on propagules regulates regeneration in a high-density reforested mangrove plantation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 299:149–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brokaw N, Thompson J (2000) The H for DBH. For Ecol Manage 129:89–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bundotich G (2007) Structural inventory of mangrove forests in Ngomeni, Kenya. MSc Thesis, Egerton UniversityGoogle Scholar
  12. Cannicci S, Burrows D, Fratini S, Lee SY, Smith TJ III, Offenberg J, Dahdouh-Guebas F (2008) Faunistic impact on vegetation structure and ecosystem function in mangrove forests: a review. Aquat Bot 89(2):186–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chong PW (1988) Proposed integrated forest management planning and utilization of mangrove resources in the Terraba-Sierpe Reserve, Costa Rica, TCP. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  14. Cintrón C, Schaeffer-Novelli Y (1984) Methods for studying mangrove structure. In: Snadaker SC, Snaedaker JG (eds) The mangrove ecosystem research methods. UNESCO, Paris, France, pp 91–113Google Scholar
  15. Clarke PJ (2004) Effects of experimental canopy gaps on mangrove recruitment: lack of habitats partitioning may explain stand dominance. J Ecol 92:203–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke PJ, Kerrigan RA (2000) Do forest gaps influence the population structure and species composition of mangrove stands in Northern Australia? Biotropica 32(4a):642–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarke PJ, Kerrigan RA (2002) The effects of seed predators on the recruitment of mangroves. J Ecol 90(4):728–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clutter JL, Fortson JC, Pienaar LV, Brister GH, Bailey RL (1983) Timber management: a quantitative approach. Wiley and Sons, 333 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Koedam N (2006a) Empirical estimate of the reliability of the use of the Point-Centred Quarter Method (PCQM): solutions to ambiguous field situations and description of the PCQM protocol. For Ecol Manage 228:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Koedam N (2006b) Coastal vegetation and the Asian tsunami. Science 311:37–38PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Koedam N (2008) Long-term retrospection on mangrove development using transdisciplinary approaches: a review. Aquat Bot. doi: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2008.03.012
  22. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Mathenge C, Kairo JG, Koedam N (2000) Utilisation of mangrove wood products around Mida creek (Kenya) among subsistence and commercial users. Econ Bot 54(4):513–527Google Scholar
  23. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Van Pottelbergh I, Kairo JG, Cannicci S, Koedam N (2004) Human-impacted mangroves in Gazi (Kenya): predicting future vegetation based on retrospective remote sensing, social surveys, and distribution of trees. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 272:77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dahdouh-Guebas F, Hettiarachchi S, Lo Seen D, Batelaan O, Sooriyarachchi S, Jayatissa LP, Koedam N (2005) Transitions in ancient inland freshwater resource management in Sri Lanka affect biota and human populations in and around coastal lagoons. Curr Biol 15:579–586PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Doute RN, Ochanda N, Epp H (1981) A forest inventory using remote sensing techniques. KREMU, Technological Report, Series No. 10. Rangeland Monitoring Unit, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  26. Duke N (2001) Gap creation and regenerative processes driving diversity and structure of mangrove ecosystems. Wetlands Ecol Manage 9:257–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Duke NC, Meynecke J-O, Dittmann S, Ellison AM, Anger K, Berger U, Cannicci S, Diele K, Ewel KC, Field CD, Koedam N, Lee SY, Marchand C, Nordhaus I, Dahdouh-Guebas F (2007) A world mangroves? Science 317:41–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ellis WL, Bell SS (2004) Canopy gaps formed by mangrove trimming: an experimental test of impact on litter fall and standing litter stock in Southwest Florida (USA). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 311:201–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ellison AM (1998) Impacts of sediment burial on mangroves. Mar Pollut Bull 37(8–12):420–426Google Scholar
  30. Ellison AM (2008) Managing mangroves with benthic biodiversity in mind: moving beyond roving banditry. J Sea Res 59(1–2):2–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ewel KC, Zheng S, Pinzon ZS, Bourgeois JA (1998) Environmental effects of canopy gap formation in high-rainfall mangrove forests. Biotropica 30(4):510–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. FAO (1994) Mangrove forest management guidelines. FAO Forestry Paper 117, Rome, 320 ppGoogle Scholar
  33. FAO (2005) Global forest resource assessment: progress towards sustainable forest management. FAO Forestry Paper 147, Rome, 348 ppGoogle Scholar
  34. Feller IC, Whigham DF, McKee KL, Lovelock CE (2003) Nitrogen limitation of growth and nutrient dynamics in a disturbed mangrove forest, Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Oecologia 134:405–414PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Ferguson W (1993) A land(scape) ecological survey of the mangrove resource of Kenya (Draft Report). Technical Cooperation Project (FAO TCP/KEN/OO51) for the Forestry Department, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  36. Flower J, Imbert D (2006) Recovery deficiency following tree mortality in mangroves of two Caribbean islands: field survey and statistical classification. Wetlands Ecol Manage 14:185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Forest Department of Kenya (1983) Operational cruise reports on Lamu mangroves. Forest Department, Inventory Section, Nairobi, Kenya, 114 ppGoogle Scholar
  38. Gang PO, Agatsiva JL (1992) The current status of mangroves along the Kenyan coast: a case study of Mida creek mangroves based on remote sensing. Hydrobiologia 247:29–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gilman EL, Ellison J, Duke NC, Field C (2008) Threats to mangroves from climate change and adaptation options: a review. Aquat Bot 89(2):237–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. GOK (2005) MOMBASA District Strategic Plan 2005–2010 for implementation of the national population policy for sustainable development. National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, p 57Google Scholar
  41. Greig-Smith P (1983) Quantitative plant ecology, 3rd edn. Blackwell Scientific Publications, 359 ppGoogle Scholar
  42. Holdridge LR, Grenke WC, Hatheway WH, Liang T, Tosi JA (1971) Forest environment in tropical life zones. Pergamon Press, NY, 747 ppGoogle Scholar
  43. Hutchings PA, Saenger P (1987) Ecology of mangroves. University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  44. Imai N, Takyu M, Nakamura Y, Nakamura T (2006) Gap formation and regeneration of tropical mangrove forests in Ranong, Thailand. Plant Ecol 186:37–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jimenez JA, Lugo AE, Cintron G (1985) Tree mortality in mangrove forests. Biotropica 17:177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kairo JG (2001) Ecology and restoration of mangrove systems in Kenya. Laboratory of General Botany and Nature Management (APNA), Free University of Brussels, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  47. Kairo JG, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Bosire J, Koedam N (2001) Restoration and management of mangrove systems—a lesson for and from the East African region. S Afr J Bot 67:383–389Google Scholar
  48. Kairo JG, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Gwada PO, Ochieng C, Koedam N (2002a) Regeneration status of mangrove forests in Mida creek: a compromised or secured future? Ambio 31:7–8Google Scholar
  49. Kairo JG, Kivyatu B, Koedam N (2002b) Application of remote sensing and GIS in the management of mangrove forests within and adjacent to Kiunga Marine Protected Area, Lamu, Kenya. Environ Dev Sustain 4(2):153–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kairo JG, Bosire J, Mohamed OS (2005) Assessment of the effects of oil spill on the mangrove forests of Port Reitz, Mombasa. Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. Mangrove System Information Service, MombasaGoogle Scholar
  51. Kokwaro JO (1985) The distribution and economic importance of the mangrove forests of Kenya. J East Afr Nat Hist Soc 75:1–10Google Scholar
  52. Kristensen E, Bouillon S, Dittmar T, Marchand C (2008) Organic carbon dynamics in mangrove ecosystems: a review. Aquat Bot 89(2):201–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. López-Hoffman L, Ackerly DD, Anten NPR, Denoyer JL, Martinez-Ramos M (2007) Gap-dependence in mangrove life-history strategies: a consideration of the entire life cycle and patch dynamics. J Ecol 95(6):1222–1233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lugo AE, Snedaker SC (1973) The role of mangrove ecosystems: properties of a mangrove forest in south Florida. National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, Virginia (Final Report. No. DI-SFEP-74-73)Google Scholar
  55. Lugo AE, Snedaker SC (1974) The ecology of mangroves. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 5:39–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mandura AS (1997) A mangrove stand under sewage pollution stress: Red Sea. Mangrove Salt Marshes 1:255–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Minchinton TE (2001) Canopy and substratum heterogeneity influence recruitment of the mangrove Avicennia marina. J Ecol 89:888–902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Morisita M (1959) Measuring of the dispersion of individuals and analysis of the distribution patterns. Mem Fac Sci Kyushu Univ Ser E Biol 2:215–235Google Scholar
  59. Mueller-Dombois D, Ellenberg H (1974) Aims and methods of vegetation ecology. Wiley and Sons Inc., New York, USAGoogle Scholar
  60. Munga D, Yobe AC, Owili M, Mwaguni SM (1993) Assessment of land based sources of pollution along the Kenyan coast. Report prepared for the WHO, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  61. Mwaguni S, Munga D (1997) Land based sources and activities affecting the quality and uses of the marine coastal and associated freshwater environments along the Kenya coast. Coastal Development Authority, MombasaGoogle Scholar
  62. Mwangi S, Kirugara D, Osore M, Njoya J, Yobe A, Dzeha T (1999) Status of marine pollution in Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve and Mtwapa creek. A technical report. Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Government Chemist Department, Kenya Wildlife ServiceGoogle Scholar
  63. Nagelkerken I, Blaber S, Bouillon S, Green P, Haywood M, Kirton LG, Meynecke J-O, Pawlik J, Penrose HM, Sasekumar A, Somerfield PJ (2008) The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marina fauna: a review. Aquat Bot 89(2):155–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Nguli MM (2006) Water exchange and circulation in selected Kenyan creeks. PhD. Dissertation, Earth Science Centre, Goteborg University, C78 2006Google Scholar
  65. Osborne K, Smith TJ III (1990) Differential predation on mangrove propagules in open and closed canopy forest habitats. Vegetatio 89:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Paijmans K, Rollet B (1977) The mangroves of Galley Reach, Papua New Guinea. For Ecol Manage 1:119–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pinzón ZS, Ewel KC, Putz FE (2003) Gap formation and forest regeneration in a Micronesian mangrove forest. J Trop Ecol 19:143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Primavera JH (1995) Mangroves and brackish water pond culture in the Philippines. Hydrobiologia 295:303–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rawlins P (1957) The East African mangrove trade. Unpublished typescript in the East African Herbarium, Nairobi, 30 ppGoogle Scholar
  70. Rees JG, Williams TM, Nguli MM, Kairu KK, Yobe AC (1996) Contaminant transport and storage in the estuarine creek systems of Mombasa, Kenya. British Geological Survey Technical Report WC/96/42Google Scholar
  71. Rönnbäck P (1999) The ecological basis for economic value of seafood production supported by mangrove ecosystems. Ecol Econ 29:235–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Saenger P, Hegerl EJ, Davie JDS (1983) Global status of mangrove ecosystems. The Environmentalist 3(Suppl 3):88Google Scholar
  73. Sheppard C (2001) The main issues affecting the coasts of the Indian and western Pacific oceans: a meta-analysis from seas at the millennium. Mar Pollut Bull 42(12):1199–1207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Smith TJ III (1988) The influence of seed predators on structure and succession in tropical tidal forests. Proc Ecol Soc Aust 15:203–211Google Scholar
  75. Snedaker SC, Brown MS, Lahmann EJ, Araujo RJ (1992) Recovery of a mixed-species mangrove forest in South-Florida following canopy removal. J Coastal Res 8(4): 919–925Google Scholar
  76. Spalding M, Blasco F, Field C (1997) World Mangrove Atlas. International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, JapanGoogle Scholar
  77. SPEK (1992) Mangrove forest of Mombasa. Technical Report by Society for Protection of Environment, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  78. Sukardjo S (1987) Natural regeneration status of commercial mangrove species (Rhizophora apiculata and Bruguiera gymnorhiza) in mangrove forests of Tanjung Bungin, Bunyuasin District, South Sumatra. For Ecol Manage 20:233–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Taylor M, Ravilious C, Green EP (2003) Mangroves of East Africa. UNEP-WCMC Biodiversity Series No. 13Google Scholar
  80. Terchunian A, Klemas V, Alvarez A, Vasconez B, Guerrero L (1986) Mangrove mapping in Ecuador: the impact of shrimp pond construction. Environ Manage 10:345–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Thampanya U, Vermaat JE, Terrados J (2002) The effect of increasing sediment accretion on the seedlings of three common Thai mangrove species. Aquat Bot 74:315–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Twilley RR, Snedaker SC, Yañez-Arancibia A, Medina E (1995) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: ecosystem analysis. Mangrove systems. In: Heywood VH (ed) Global biodiversity assessment, UNEP. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 387–392Google Scholar
  83. Vaiphasa C, de Boer WF, Skidmore AK, Panit-chart S, Vaiphasa T, Bamrongrugsa N, Santitamnont P (2007) Impact of solid shrimp pond waste materials on mangrove growth and mortality: a case study from Pak Phanang, Thailand. Hydrobiologia 591:47–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Valiela I, Bowen JL, York JK (2001) Mangrove forests: one of the world’s threatened major tropical environments. Bioscience 51(10):807–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Walters BB, Rönnbäck P, Kovacs J, Crona B, Hussain S, Badola R, Primavera JH, Barbier EB, Dahdouh-Guebas F (2008) Ethnobiology, socio-economics and adaptive management of mangroves: a review. Aquat Bot 89(2):220–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wong YS, Tam NFY, Lan CY (1997) Mangrove wetlands as wastewater treatment facility: a field trial. Hydrobiologia 352:49–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. World Resources Institute (1996) World Resources 1996–97. The World Resources Institute, UNEP, UNDP, World Bank. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 365Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Griet Neukermans
    • 1
  • James Gitundu Kairo
    • 3
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
    • 1
    • 4
  • Nico Koedam
    • 1
  1. 1.Biocomplexity Research Focus, Laboratory of Plant Biology and Nature Management, Mangrove Management GroupVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Kenya Wildlife ServiceMombasa Field Research StationMombasaKenya
  3. 3.Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research InstituteMombasaKenya
  4. 4.Département de Biologie des OrganismesUniversité Libre de Bruxelles – ULBBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations