Measuring water level to restore degraded mangrove forests

Mangrove restoration projects are carried out world-wide to rehabilitate degraded mangrove forests. These restoration projects often have a low success rate because planting of new trees is done without taking into account site-specific hydrological conditions. To bring more hydrological knowledge into mangrove restoration projects, an international group of researchers, including Bram te Brake from Eijkelkamp Academy, have performed research to link hydrological conditions and mangrove vegetation.

The research included measuring water levels in mangrove forest using Diver water level loggers to analyze how long and how often the mangrove sites were inundated. This was linked to the current and potential vegetation at these sites. The research was published online in scientific journal PLOS ONE on March 23rd.

Eijkelkamp’s Bram te Brake said: “We have developed a simple, but robust, toolkit to use hydrology for mangrove restoration projects, including practical suggestions to increase the success rate of these projects. One of the main recommendations is to monitoring water levels at mangrove sites for a period of at least 30 days, to cover tidal variation. Using the guidelines in the paper this data can directly be used to guide decisions on mangrove species planting or ecological restoration of the area. The toolkit is intended to be used by mangrove organizations and local parties working in the field and helps to restore the valuable ecosystem of mangroves by providing a balanced combination between scientific support and practical guidelines.”

The research was carried out in cooperation with researchers from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) and Wageningen University (the Netherlands).

The article “Hydrological Classification, a Practical Tool for Mangrove Restoration” has been published on the PLOS website and can be downloaded freely.

Press release

The University of Birmingham made a press release about this research 'Birmingham water science leads ecological survival battle'

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