The Coral Triangle Maps of the Month is a monthly email running from August 2012 to June 2013 that showcases various maps that highlight the diversity and uniqueness of the Coral Triangle region. The maps also show some of the pressing issues that are threatening this very important resource considered the epicenter of the world's marine biodiversity. The maps are generated by the Coral Triangle Atlas team at WorldFish.
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Map 13: Mangrove Species Richness in the Coral Triangle
Mangrove forest in Nusa Penida, Indonesia
Credit: Marthen Welly/CTC
The countries of the coral Triangle encompass the most mangrove rich areas of the planet. Indonesia alone is host to over one fifth of the global area of mangroves, but Malaysia and Papua New Guinea too have very large mangrove extents. Not only are the mangroves extensive but they are high in biomass and productivity.
The importance of mangroves as carbon stores, and as ecosystems that sequester new carbon is only just being realized, but in this respect mangroves in the Coral Triangle are among the most important on the planet - forests with canopies reaching to over 30m in height and rich, waterlogged soils store carbon at rates comparable to, or even higher, than adjacent lowland rainforests. Although there appears to be close parallels between mangrove and coral reef distribution it is worth noting that the most extensive and diverse mangroves are on the wettest, sediment rich shores and deltas, often quite far from the most extensive reef systems.
This map also shows the richness of the mangrove fauna in Southeast Asia, with 45 species listed for Indonesia, out of a global total of 73 species. Spalding et al. (2010) point to three centres of diversity which overlap with the Coral Triangle area. The bulk of the area lies in the South-East Asia province, an area with several unique species, but also forming a central point of many more widespread species.
To the northwest the CT overlaps with the Indo-Andaman province, an area with a number of endemic species that is centred around the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. To the south the Australasian province, which includes the island of New Guinea also has a number of unique species. It is the convergence of two provinces which leads to the hotspot of species richness around Halmahera and western and southern New Guinea. - Mark Spalding
The Coral Triangle Atlas is an online Geographical Information System (GIS) database providing scientists, governments and NGOs with a view of spatial data at the regional scale. This project will improve the efficiency of conservation planning in the region by giving researchers and managers access to biophysical and socioeconomic information in spatially explicit while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps, therefore reducing duplicate data collection efforts and providing the most complete and most current data available.
By contributing data to the CT Atlas, NGO partners, governments and managers are helping to strengthen the effectiveness of conservation activities in the Coral Triangle through improved information flow and access to the region's best datasets.
For more information about the CT Atlas and to contribute data, contact: Annick Cros firstname.lastname@example.org ReefBase at email@example.com You can also participate in discussions or submit questions to the CT Atlas forum