Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 531–541 | Cite as

The distribution and state of mangroves along the coast of Transkei, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

  • J. B. AdamsEmail author
  • B. M. Colloty
  • G. C. Bate


The mangrove communities along the coastline of the former Transkei, now part of the Eastern Cape Province, have not been looked at in detail since Ward and Steinke’s survey in 1982. Mangroves previously occurred in 17 estuaries but were now found in only 14 of the 76 estuaries visited, with a complete loss of mangroves evident in the Mnyameni, Mzimvubu and Bulungula estuaries amounting to 7.5 ha. Total mangrove loss amounted to 17.6 ha which represents a 6.5% loss over 17 years or 1.04 ha per annum. Tree cover had increased by 16.15 ha in eight other estuaries. This increase could be attributed to the inaccessibility of mangrove stands or to protection afforded by provincial nature reserves and hotel resorts. No new mangrove stands were recorded, although Steinke (pers. comm.) has recently recorded mangroves along the north bank of the Kei River. There has been little change in mangrove species composition in the different estuaries over the past 17 years. Total mangrove loss amounted to 17.6 ha which represents a 6.5% loss over 17 years or 1.04 ha per annum and the species recorded included Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorhiza and Rhizophora mucronata. The mangrove fern Acrostichum aureum L. was recorded for the first time in the Mkozi estuary. Tree density for all estuaries was between 10 and 2594 trees ha−1. The Mngazana and Mntafufu estuaries had the highest tree densities of 2594 and 1402 trees ha−1 respectively, typical of riverine mangrove forests. Fringe mangroves were evident in most other systems. Removal of trees for wood has the greatest impact on mangrove cover. Fringe mangrove stands are particularly accessible to harvesters. Only 6% of the current area of trees is afforded some protection in conservation areas. The Mdumbi, Mzamba and Kobonqaba estuaries receive no conservation protection and harvesting has resulted in more than 50% of the trees being removed. The density of dead tree stumps was greater than the number of living trees and no seedlings or juvenile trees were found. Further removal of mangroves within the estuaries south of the Mzimvubu River is expected in the fringe mangroves, as most are unprotected and easily accessible.

Key words

Conservation Cover Density Mangrove composition Species Threats Utilization 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of Port ElizabethPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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