Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Title

Distribution, pore-water chemistry, and stand characteristics of the mangroves of the United Arab Emirates

Abstract

Mangroves are the dominant coastal vegetation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), occupying one of the driest mangrove habitats in the world. However, published estimates of mangroves do not represent current conditions for the country as a whole. This study provides an up-to-date estimate of UAE's mangroves, summarizing their habitat characteristics, stand heights, and pore-water conditions. Estimates of mangrove cover are based upon remote sensing, aerial photointerpretation, and field verification. Our results document more mangroves than previously estimated for Abu Dhabi and the nation altogether. Mapped areas were classified into three descriptive density cover classes to facilitate interpretation of the data: low (<10%), moderate (10–75%), and high (>75%). The high-density class reflects prior national estimates for mangrove coverage (roughly 3613 ha), while moderate- and low-density classes contributed an additional 5659 ha and 4344 ha (respectively) to the national total. The largest contiguous mangrove area was 710 ha, while the smallest mapped area was 0.03 ha. Mapped mangrove habitat types included fringe, basin, and overwash, with average heights of 3.36 ± 0.25 m and density of 61.83% ± 5.01%. Stand height and pore-water sulfide concentrations were significantly different between habitat types, while stand density, pore-water salinity, and redox potential were highly variable. In sum, approximately 13,616 ha of mangrove area was mapped, roughly three times more than prior estimates. This is the first study in recent years to document the full areal extent of mangroves and associated stand characteristics across the seven emirates.

Publication Date

11-2014

Journal Title

Journal of Coastal Research

Publisher

Coastal Education & Research Foundation

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-14-00142.1

Document Type

Article