Successful mangrove tree regeneration is required to maintain the provision of wood for silviculturally managed mangrove forest areas and to ensure mangrove rehabilitation in disturbed areas. Successful natural regeneration of mangroves after disturbance depends on the dispersal, establishment, early growth and survival of propagules. Focusing on the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR) in Peninsular Malaysia, we investigated how the location of a mangrove forest patch might influence the early regeneration of mangroves after clear-felling events that regularly take place on an approximately 30-year rotation as part of local management. We used Landsat-derived Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) annual time series from 1988 to 2015 to indicate the recovery of canopy cover during early regeneration, which was determined as the average time (in years) for the NDMI to recover to values associated with the mature forests prior to their clear felling. We found that clear-felled mangrove patches closer to water and/or to already established patches of Rhizophora regenerated more rapidly than those farther away. In contrast, patches located closer to dryland forests regenerated slower compared to patches that were farther away. The study concludes that knowledge of the distribution of water, hydro-period and vegetation communities across the landscape can indicate the likely regeneration of mangrove forests through natural processes and identify areas where active planting is needed. Furthermore, time-series comparisons of the NDMI during the early years of regeneration can assist monitoring of mangrove establishment and regeneration, inform on the success of replanting, and facilitate higher productivity within the MMFR.
- Mangrove regeneration
- Spatial analysis