In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Mangroves

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Mangrove Fauna
  • Mangrove Flora
  • Mangrove Dispersal, Connectivity, and Establishment
  • Hydrodynamics and Geomorphology
  • Ecosystem Productivity, Nutrient Cycling, and Outwelling
  • Global Mangrove Extent and Deforestation Rates
  • Drivers of Deforestation and Degradation
  • Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
  • Climate Change and Increasing Temperature
  • Conservation, Management, and Restoration
  • Mangrove Restoration and Rehabilitation

Environmental Science Mangroves
Daniel Friess
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0070


Intertidal mangrove forests are a wetland ecosystem composed of halophytic tree and shrub species and associated terrestrial and marine fauna. Mangroves are found across a large proportion of coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Mangrove species diverged genetically from related terrestrial species approximately 64 million years ago, evolving specific adaptations to exist in a dynamic and fluctuating coastal environment that is physiologically stressful. Thus mangroves are a key model ecosystem with which to study physical-ecological interactions, as the distribution and stability of flora and fauna populations are dependent on their physiological responses to key hydrodynamic and geomorphological processes. Mangroves are now well known to provide a multitude of ecosystem services that benefit human populations. Some of these are local in scale, such as the provision of firewood, charcoal, and nontimber forest products. Others act at larger scales, especially regulating ecosystem services such as the support of inshore fisheries, coastal protection, and carbon storage. Mangroves also provide important cultural ecosystem services to local coastal communities (recreation, spiritual, etc.), though these are harder to quantify and have been less studied. Despite their unique biodiversity and the important ecosystem services they contribute to local and regional populations, mangroves are considered a highly threatened ecosystem. Aquaculture has driven land cover conversion from mangroves to fish and shrimp ponds along many tropical coastlines. The production of other commodities such as rice and oil palm, urban development, and land reclamation are also proximate drivers of large-scale mangrove deforestation throughout the tropics. Understanding the importance of mangroves, their threats, and management and policy solutions to reducing deforestation all require a multidisciplinary approach to mangrove research. This bibliography describes 117 books and articles that cover a range of disciplines and research fields. While this bibliography highlights the classic, paradigmatic publications shaping mangrove science, the field of mangrove research is an exciting and multidisciplinary one that is continually expanding in scope. Thus this bibliography purposefully focuses on recent publications and those led by early career researchers where possible. As a result, approximately 39 percent of the publications described in this bibliography have been published since 2010, and 16 percent were published in 2016 or 2017.

General Overviews

Mangrove forests are a complex ecosystem that can be studied from many research perspectives, including biology, ecology, physical geography, economics, and social sciences. Mangroves are also a field of study with multiple spatial scales, from molecular and cellular responses to physiological stress, to pan-tropical deforestation dynamics monitored by satellite remote sensing. There are several useful entry-level publications that bridge many of the disciplines and scales used in mangrove research and provide a broad overview of the scope of mangrove studies.

  • Alongi, D. M. 2009. The Energetics of Mangrove Forests. New York: Springer.

    An up-to-date overview of the ecosystem functions of mangrove forests. There is a particularly strong focus on productivity, trophic interactions, and nutrient cycling. The synthesis chapter gives a critical global view of mangrove nutrient and carbon budgets and summarizes the key issues on mangrove energetics.

  • Duke, N. C. 2006. Australia’s Mangroves: The Authoritative Guide to Australia’s Mangrove Plants. Brisbane: Univ. of Queensland.

    This book has a large front section that provides a clear and broad overview of the mangrove ecosystem. The rest of the book is dedicated to information on single species based on the author’s extensive taxonomic experience. This is a useful identification guide for most Indo-Pacific mangrove species.

  • Hogarth, P. J. 2007. The Biology of Mangroves and Seagrasses. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568704.001.0001

    A comprehensive, if slightly dated, book describing the flora and fauna of mangroves and their interactions with the abiotic environment. Some interesting comparisons between intertidal mangroves and lower intertidal/subtidal seagrasses are given.

  • Kathiresan, K., and B. L. Bingham. 2001. Biology of mangroves and mangrove ecosystems. Advances in Marine Biology 40:81–251.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2881(01)40003-4

    At 170 pages, this article provides an extensive overview of the biological and ecological processes in various components of the mangrove ecosystem. It also describes how biotic components of the mangrove ecosystem interact with the abiotic environment, such as tidal inundation, salinity, and light. It represents a comprehensive, if dated, summary of mangrove knowledge to the end of the 20th century.

  • Koedam, N., F. Dahdouh-Guebas, R. L. Barcellos, and T. Van der Stocken. 2016. Mangroves—captured by the keen eye of a 17th century landscape painter. Dutch Crossing 1–17.

    The authors present what they believe is the first artistic representation of mangrove vegetation, based on a painting of a Brazilian landscape scene by the artist Franz Janszoon Post. An unusual article but one that is fun and fascinating to read.

  • Macnae, W. 1969. A general account of the fauna and flora of mangrove swamps and forests in the Indo-West-Pacific region. Advances in Marine Biology 6:73–270.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2881(08)60438-1

    A classic account of the biology and ecology of mangroves, laying out the key paradigms that we still use today. It focuses on Southeast Asia, when many accounts of the time focused on the neotropics.

  • United Nations Environment Programme. 2014. The importance of mangroves to people: A call to action. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme.

    A comprehensive report with inputs from several international mangrove experts. It summarizes the ecosystem services provided by mangrove and then focuses on the threats and management of mangroves. Importantly, it also highlights key knowledge gaps.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.