Mangrove Forests and Climate Change Impacts and Interactions

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Climate Change and Estuaries


The position of mangrove forests in the dynamic intertidal zone means that they are expected to be heavily impacted by climate change. Much focus is put on mangroves and their response to sea-level rise, but this ecosystem is exposed to a much broader range of climate change stressors, including increased storminess and waves, more dynamic and unpredictable precipitation patterns, and increases in air and sea surface temperatures, particularly at their latitudinal limits. We show that individual climate change stressors can have (rarely considered) positive, as well as negative impacts on mangroves and associated ecosystem functions such as carbon sequestration. While we generally study climate change stressors individually, they are not expected to act in isolation with other climate change stressors or with anthropogenic stressors. We present a stressor interaction framework previously suggested for coral reefs, and adapt it for use in mangroves, using the recent mangrove dieback in northern Australia as a case study. We show the benefits of moving mangrove and climate change research beyond the study of single stressors and towards identifying key synergistic and antagonistic interactions between climate change stressors.

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