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Mangrove maintenance

The stilt-rooted trees of mangrove forests host rich biological diversity, as well as supporting fisheries and protecting shores from storm damage and erosion. These tidal-zone trees can maintain an appropriate soil elevation for local sea levels and inundation rates by accreting sediment or organic material around their roots (pictured, mangroves in Indonesia). But on page 559 of this issue, Lovelock et al. (C. E. Lovelock et al. Nature 526, 559–563; 2015) show that for many forests, current rates of sea-level rise outpace this adaptive capacity.

Credit: Jane Gould/Alamy

Assessing 27 sites across the Indo-Pacific, the authors find that sediment availability is a key survival factor for mangroves in the region. But river damming and land-use change are reducing sediment supply. The researchers' modelling predicts that, at current rates of sea-level rise, many mangrove forests could be submerged by 2070. Footnote 1


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Turner, M. Mangrove maintenance. Nature 526, 515 (2015).

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