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    Description

    The mangrove environment is not globally homogeneous, but involves many environmental gradients to which mangrove species must adapt and overcome to maintain the familiar structure and physiognomy associated with the mangrove ecosystem. The stature of mangroves, measured by tree height, decreases along the following environmental gradients from low to high salinity, low to high wind speed, high to low air temperature, high to low nutrient availability, and high to low rainfall. Litterfall, an indirect measure of mangrove productivity, decreases along the same environmental gradients. Mangrove stature is low at the two extremes of the inundation period (hydroperiod) and peaks at intermediate levels of inundation. The main factors that control mangrove structure and function are the latitudinal temperature gradient, regional presence/absence of hurricanes, nutritional status of mangrove substrates, and local salinity gradients.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Lugo, Ariel E.; Medina, Ernesto. 2014. Mangrove forests. Pages 343-352 in Encyclopedia of Natural Resources - Land. Vol. 1. New York: Taylor and Francis. DOI: 10.1081/E-ENRL-120047500

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    Keywords

    mangroves, salinity, temperature, nutrient availability, mangrove structure and function

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