Anthropogenic drivers of mangrove loss: Geographic patterns and implications for livelihoods

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Date of Original Version



National and global mangrove monitoring efforts provide an invaluable picture of changes to these dynamic and valuable ecosystems, the global threats they face, and the outcomes of recovery efforts. However, multiple forces drive global mangrove losses, whose nature and dynamics can vary dramatically across regional and local contexts. If we are to truly understand the human dimensions of these systems, we need to understand the fundamental drivers of mangrove losses and how they interact at local levels. The fate of interdisciplinary mangrove science as well as current and future mangrove conservation efforts rests on this knowledge. In this chapter, we review case studies of mangrove ecosystems to compare the fundamental drivers of regional mangrove losses. We highlight two significant drivers of mangrove losses: (a) mangrove-dependent subsistence economies and related poverty traps; and (b) the global trade in shrimp. Drawing on the cases of Southeast Asia/China and Ecuador, two distinct geographic regions that experienced rapid mangrove losses in the recent few decades, we examine specific drivers in those regional contexts. We conclude with implications of our findings for mangrove vulnerability and prospects for resilience. We argue for the benefits of a coupled system (specifically, a coupled socio-ecological system) approach to understand the bi-directional linkages between mangrove ecological dynamics on the one hand, and the constellation of anthropogenic drivers of mangrove change, on the other.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Mangrove Ecosystems: A Global Biogeographic Perspective: Structure, Function, and Services