Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 291–301 | Cite as

Patterns of natural and anthropogenic disturbance of the mangroves on the Pacific Island of Kosrae

  • James A. Allen
  • Katherine C. Ewel
  • Jason Jack


Mangroves in many parts of the world are subjected to frequent, large-scaledisturbances. A possible exception is Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia(FSM), a small volcanic island in the west-central Pacific Ocean. Relativesea level has been stable for most of the last 1000 years and the last tropical cyclone to affect the island was in 1905. Many trees on Kosrae,especially individuals of the species Sonneratia alba, thereforeappear to die only after reaching advanced ages and exceptional sizes. Themost widespread anthropogenic disturbance is harvesting of trees for fuelwoodand poles, which is done selectively and generally creates small, dispersedgaps. Other forms of anthropogenic disturbance, such as modifications ofcoastal landforms, alterations of freshwater inflows road construction andconversion to residential or agricultural uses, are still relatively minorbut have led to some irreversible losses. The economy of Kosrae is basedto a large degree on income derived from a Compact of Free Association betweenthe FSM and the United States, an agreement that has an uncertain future.Many of the funding provisions of the Compact expire in 2001 and, if notrenewed, may have dramatic impacts on resource use. This in turn may leadto a much greater level of anthropogenic disturbance of what are now someof the world's most intact mangrove swamps.

Federated States of Micronesia harvesting sea-level rise tropical cyclones 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, J.A., Ewel, K.C., Keeland, B.D., Tara, T. and Smith, T.J. III. 2000. Downed wood in Micronesian mangrove forests.Wetlands 20: 169–176.Google Scholar
  2. Athens, J.S. 1995. Landscape Archaeology: Prehistoric Settlement, Subsistence, and Environment of Kosrae, Eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Report prepared for Kosrae State Government by International Arachaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu, HI.Google Scholar
  3. Aubé, M. and Caron, L. 2001. The mangroves of the North Coast of Haiti: A preliminary assessment.Wetl. Ecol. Manag. 9: 271–278.Google Scholar
  4. Bandaranayake, W.M. 1998. Traditional and medicinal uses of mangroves. Mangr. Salt Marsh. 2: 133–148.Google Scholar
  5. Cole, T.G., Ewel, K.C. and Devoe, N.N. 1998. Structure of mangrove trees and forests in Micronesia. Forest Ecol. Manag. 117: 95–109.Google Scholar
  6. Devoe, N. 1994. Mangrove exploitation and conservation in the Federated States of Micronesia. ISLA: A Journal of Micronesian Studies 2: 67–82.Google Scholar
  7. Duke, N.C. 1999. The 1998 Survey of Rhizophora Species in Micronesia. Unpublished report to the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Marine Botany Group, Botany Department, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD, Australia.Google Scholar
  8. Duke, N.C. 2001. Gap creation and regenerative processes driving diversity and structure of mangrove ecosystems. Wetl. Ecol. Manag. 9: 257–269.Google Scholar
  9. Ellison, J.C. and Stoddart, D.R. 1991. Mangrove ecosystem collapse during predicted sea-level rise: Holocene analogues and implications. J. Coastal Res. 7: 151–165.Google Scholar
  10. Emanuel, K.A. 1987. The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate. Nature 326: 483–485.Google Scholar
  11. Ewel, K.C., Bourgeois, J.A., Cole, T.G. and Zheng, S. 1998a. Variation in environmental characteristics and vegetation in highrainfall mangrove forests, Kosrae, Micronesia. Gl. Ecol. and Biogeogr. Lett. 7: 49–56.Google Scholar
  12. Ewel, K.C., Zheng, S., Pinzón, Z.S. and Bourgeois, J.A. 1998b. Environmental effects of canopy gap formation in high-rainfall mangrove forests. Biotropica 30: 510–518.Google Scholar
  13. Farnsworth, E.J. and Ellison, A.M. 1996. Anthropogenic disturbance of Caribbean mangrove ecosystems: Impacts, present trends, and future predictions. Biotropica 28(4a): 549–565.Google Scholar
  14. Farnsworth, E.J. and Ellison, A.M. 1997. The global conservation status of mangroves. Ambio 26: 328–334.Google Scholar
  15. Fischer, J.L. and Fischer, A.M. 1957. The Eastern Carolines. Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, in association with Human Relations Area Files, New Haven, CT, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Fujimoto, K. and Miyagi, T. 1993. Development process of tidal-flat mangrove habitats and their zonation in the Pacific Ocean: A geomorphological study. Vegetatio 106: 137–146.Google Scholar
  17. Fujimoto, K., Miyagi, T. Kikuchi, T. and Kawana, T. 1996. Mangrove habitat formation and response to Holocene sea-level changes on Kosrae Island, Micronesia. Mangr. Salt Marsh. 1: 47–57.Google Scholar
  18. Jiménez, J.A., Lugo, A.E. and Cintrón, G. 1985. Tree mortality in mangrove forests. Biotropica 17: 177–185.Google Scholar
  19. Kawana, T., Miyagi, T., Fujimoto, K. and Kikuchi, T. 1995. Late Holocene sea-level changes in Kosrae Island, the Carolines, Micronesia. In: Kikuchi, T. (ed.), Rapid Sea Level Rise and Mangrove Habitat. pp. 1–7. Institute for Basin Ecosystem Studies, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.Google Scholar
  20. Kikuchi, T., Mochida, Y., Miyagi, T., Fujimoto, K. and Tsuda, S. 1999. Mangrove forests supported by peaty habitats on several islands in the western Pacific. Tropics 8: 197–205.Google Scholar
  21. Kosrae State Census Report, 1996. 1994 FSM Census of Population and Housing. Kosrae State Government, Tofol, Kosrae, FSM.Google Scholar
  22. MacLean, C.D., Whitesell, C.D., Cole, T.G. and McDuffie, K.E. 1988. Timber resources of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk, and Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. USDA Forest Service, Berkeley, California. Resource Bulletin PSW-24.Google Scholar
  23. Magnusson, W.E., Lima, A.P. and de Lima, O. 1996. Group lightning mortality of trees in a Neotropical forest. J. Trop. Ecol. 12: 899–903.Google Scholar
  24. Manoa Mapworks. 1987. Kosrae coastal resource atlas. Prepared for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division under Contract No. DACW83–87-M-0354, Honolulu, Hawaii.Google Scholar
  25. Miyagi, T. 1992. Land conservation for sustainable land use of mangrove habitat. Trans. Jap. Geomorph. Union 13: 325–331.Google Scholar
  26. Naylor, R. and Drew, M. 1998. Valuing mangrove resources in Kosrae, Micronesia. Envir. Devel. Econ. 3: 471–490.Google Scholar
  27. Osman, W.M. 1995. Federated States of Micronesia Economic Report, Autumn 1995. Bank of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA.Google Scholar
  28. Pinzón, Z.S. 1998. Canopy Dynamics and Regeneration in Mangrove Forests in Micronesia. M.S. thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  29. Ray, B. 1999. Global Tracks. Typhoon tracking software, Version 2.1a. Hyperlink: Historical data obtained from the National Hurricane Center, Guam Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Purdue University, and various other university data bases.Google Scholar
  30. Ritter, L.T. and Ritter, P.L. 1982. The European Discovery of Kosrae Island. Micronesian Archaeological Survey, Report 13. Historic Preservation Office, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.Google Scholar
  31. Ritter, P.L. 1981. The population of Kosrae at contact. Micronesia 17: 11–28.Google Scholar
  32. Roth, L.C. 1992. Hurricanes and mangrove regeneration: Effects of Hurricane Juan, October, 1988, on the vegetation of Isla del Venado, Bluefields, Nicaragua. Biotropica 24: 375–384.Google Scholar
  33. Sarfert, E. 1919. Kusae. Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition, 1980–10. Friederichsen, Hamburg.Google Scholar
  34. Segal, H.G. 1995. Kosrae: The Sleeping Lady Awakens, 2nd edition. Kosrae State Tourist Division, Kosrae State Government, Federated States of Micronesia.Google Scholar
  35. Sherman, R.E. Fahey, T.J. and Battles, J.L. 2000. Small-scale disturbance and regeneration dynamics in a neotropical mangrove forest. J. of Ecol. 88: 165–178.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, D.M. 1986. The Practice of Silviculture, 8th Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Smith, T.J. III. 1992. Forest structure. In: Robertson, A.I. and Alongi, D.M. (eds.), Tropical Mangrove Ecosystems. pp. 101–136. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  38. Smith, T.J. III, Robblee, M.B., Wanless, H.R. and Doyle, T.W. 1994. Mangroves, hurricanes and lightning strikes. Bioscience 44: 256–262.Google Scholar
  39. Steinke, T.D. and Ward, C.J. 1989. Some effects of the cylones Domoina and Imboa on mangrove communities in the St. Lucia Estuary. South African J. Bot. 55: 340–348.Google Scholar
  40. Talahashi, T. 1983. Oceanic tropical thunderstorms at Ponape, Micronesia. In: Ruhnke, L.H. and Latham, J. (eds.), Proceedings in Atmospheric Electricity. pp. 171–175. A. Deepak Publishing, Hamptin, VA, USA.Google Scholar
  41. Twilley, R.R. 1998. Mangrove wetlands. In: Messina, M.G. and Conner, W.H. (eds.), Southern Forested Wetlands: Ecology and Management. pp. 445–473. Lewis Publishers, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  42. Walsh, G.E. 1977. Exploitation of mangal. In: Chapman, V.J. (ed.), Wet Coastal Ecosystems, Ecosystems of the World 1. pp. 347–363. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  43. Whitesell, C.D., MacLean, C.D., Falanruw, M.C., Cole, T. and Ambacher, A. 1986. Vegetation survey of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Berkeley, CA. Resource Bulletin PSW-17.Google Scholar
  44. Woodroffe, C.D. 1987. Pacific island mangroves: Distribution and environmental settings. Pac. Sci. 41: 166–185.Google Scholar
  45. Woodroffe, C.D. 1992. Mangrove sediments and geomorphology. In: Robertson, A.I. and Alongi, D.M. (eds.), Tropical Mangrove Ecosystems. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 41. pp. 7–41. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  46. Woodroffe, C.D. and Grindrod, J. 1991. Mangrove biogeography: The role of Quaternary environmental and sea-level change. J. Biogeogr. 18: 479–492.Google Scholar
  47. Xue, C. 1996. Coastal sedimentation, erosion and management of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. SOPAC Technical Report 228, South Pacific Geoscience Commission, Suva, Fiji.Google Scholar
  48. Xue, C. 1999. Coastal sedimentation, erosion and management on the North Coast of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. J. Coastal Res. 15: 927–935.Google Scholar
  49. Yamanaka, M. and Kikuchi, T. 1995. Pollen analytical studies of the Holocene deposits from Kosrae and Pohnpei Islands, Micronesia. In: Kikuchi, T. (ed.), Rapid Sea Level Rise and Mangrove Habitat. pp. 45–47. Institute for Basin Ecosystem Studies, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Allen
    • 1
  • Katherine C. Ewel
    • 1
  • Jason Jack
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research StationInstitute of Pacific Islands ForestryHonoluluU.S.A.
  2. 2.Kosrae Island Resource Management Program, Kosrae StateKosrae StateFederated States of Micronesia

Personalised recommendations