Well-intentioned, but poorly implemented: Debris from coastal bamboo fences triggered mangrove decline in Thailand.

Affiliation

Department of Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand; Special Research Unit for Mangrove Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Along the Upper Gulf of Thailand, coastal fences and breakwaters have been constructed using bamboo since 2005. Despite their potential benefits, bamboo structures disintegrate within seven years releasing floating debris which severely damages mangrove tree stems. The aim of the study was to investigate whether such stem damage resulted in the decline of Avicennia spp. stands along the Upper Gulf of Thailand. Tree health assessments were conducted to assess the probability of crown dieback in damaged and undamaged trees. Satellite-derived time-series of vegetation indices were used to detect long-term forest decline. In contrast to the unaffected landward mangroves, seaward mangroves were unable to recover from insect-induced defoliation events after the collapse of a nearby fence. Furthermore, there was a significantly higher probability that damaged trees showed signs of moderate-to-severe crown dieback. It is recommended that bamboo fences be secured by replacing individual stems before they become detached.

Keywords

Avicennia spp.,Coastal protection,LANDSAT 7,Sentinel 2,Tree health,Upper Gulf of Thailand,

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