The concentrations of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and chlorine (Cl) were followed monthly in pre-senescence leaves and post-abscission leaves of Kandelia candel (L.) Druce at the Jiulongjiang estuary, and Fujian, China. The element retranslocation efficiency (RE) was studied during leaf senescence. The element RE's evaluated using different methods were compared and a new method was put forward to evaluate element RE during leaf senescence in evergreen trees without concentrated leaf fall. The results showed that during leaf senescence, 77.22% N, 57.53% P, and 44.51% K were translocated out of senescing leaves. Translocation of nutrients out of senescing leaves back into shoots was an important nutnent-conservation mechanism for N and P, was less important for K, and did not occur for Ca, Mg, Na, or Cl. One of the reasons for the high primary productivity of mangroves in nutrient poor sites (especially with low N) is the high nutrient use efficiency.