Resilience and restoration of soft-bottom near-shore ecosystems

Abstract

Throughout the world, intertidal near-shore ecosystems are largely threatened by human impacts (Naylor et al., 1998; Jackson et al., 2001). Mangrove forests and seagrass meadows are major vegetation types of these ecosystems (Hogart, 1999; Hemming & Duarte, 2000). These mangrove forests and seagrass meadows constitute dominant plant communities in these ecosystems and play a crucial role in the coastal environment. Generally, both mangrove forests and seagrass meadows are characterised by high biomass production (Riley & Kent, 1999; Green & Short, 2003), and they are widely recognized as key ecosystems in temperate and tropical near-shore ecosystems (Valiela, 1987; Hogart, 1999; Hemminga & Duarte, 2000). Intertidal near-shore ecosystems with mangrove and seagrass cover are important for biodiversity (De Iongh et al., 2007 ), they help to stabilize sediments (De Boer, 2007), provide nursery habitats for fish (Pollard, 1984; Nuraini et al., 2007), contribute to the primary production, and play an important role in the nutrient cycling of the coastal marine ecosystems (Oshima et al., 1999; Gras et al., 2003). Storms and monsoon rains are frequent disturbances that affect mangrove and seagrass cover (Preen et al., 1995; Ferwerda et al., 2007a). In resilient intertidal near-shore ecosystems, the pioneer seagrass species for example can recover quickly after such disturbances (De Iongh, 1996). Many seagrass species are, however, highly sensitive to environmental changes, and losses of seagrass-vegetated areas are now a worldwide problem (Walker & McComb, 1992; Short & Willye-Echeverria, 1996; Gordon, 2007). The decline in most areas can be related to human activities such as industrial and urban sewage discharges, fish farming, trawl fishing, coastal works (as shown for mangroves by Vaiphasa et al., 2007). The main problems in intertidal near-shore ecosystems have an abiotic nature such as increased turbidity, erosion and increased nutrient load (Fourqurean & Zieman, 2002; Ruiz & Romero, 2003; De Boer, 2007). However, also biotic disturbances affect mangrove and seagrass cover, such as overgrowth with epiphytes and macroalgae. The causal relationships between individual factors and observed changes in mangrove and seagrass cover and biomass are difficult to establish due to the complex array of interactions between physical and biological factors that can be simultaneously induced in a same coastal area under influence of human impacts (Terrados et al., 1999; Ruiz & Romero, 2001). Understanding the effect of disturbances and mechanisms of Guest editors: Frank van Langevelde and Herbert Prins Resilience and Restoration of Soft-Bottom Near-Shore Ecosystems

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-007-0779-2

Cite this paper

@article{Langevelde2007ResilienceAR, title={Resilience and restoration of soft-bottom near-shore ecosystems}, author={Frank van Langevelde and Herbert H. T. Prins}, journal={Hydrobiologia}, year={2007}, volume={591}, pages={1-4} }