Mangroves are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the globe with a global loss of more than 30%, and in some regions in Asia up to 50% over the past 30 years. Often the remaining mangroves are in poor condition. Degraded by logging and over-exploitation these human impacts greatly affect mangroves’ ability to deliver vital ecosystem services.
A new paper [A visual assessment scale for rapid evaluation of mangrove degradation, using examples from Myanmar and Madagascar] by Christoph Zöckler of the Manfred-Hermsen Foundation, Dominic Wodehouse of Mangrove Action Project and Matthias Markolf of the German Primate Centre (DPZ) and the University of Göttingen proposes the use of our simple degradation scale of 1-6 to assess the level of mangrove degradation during field visits. Often satellite images do not pick up the full scale of destruction and degradation and many mangroves that look intact from a satellite perspective have in fact already been degraded by cutting, logging and other human impacts. This scale introduces an easy applicable tool to rapidly assess the status of a mangrove stand by boat or on foot. The scale ranging from 1 (almost none left) to 6 (full grown mature, intact mangroves) depicts the level of human impact and the need for restoration. Applying these scales in the Myeik region of Myanmar as well as on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean in Madagascar demonstrates the scale’s value but also its limitations, as shown in different maps from the three regions. We encourage mangrove site managers and conservationists across the Indian Ocean to use and test the scale and where necessary refine its application. The scale from 1-6 can be printed and laminated for field work purposes. We look forward receiving reports and feedback from users’ application of this scale in the field.
More info on the mangrove work of the Manfred-Hermsen Foundation is available here.
More info on mangroves and the work MAP carries out is available here.