Mangrove recruitment after forest disturbance is facilitated by herbaceous species in the Caribbean

Mangrove recruitment after forest disturbance is facilitated by herbaceous species in the Caribbean


Mangrove loss in the Caribbean region, particularly in the last decade of the twentieth century is known to have been detrimental in many ecological and social ways. However, this study argues that such losses, and the ones caused by natural disturbances may be reversed through application of the principles of ecological restoration. This paper addresses the slow mangrove recolonization and growth, by providing an understanding of how benefactor species may facilitate survival and growth of mangroves that in the end will lead for effective restoration practices. A benefactor species that increases the rate of seedling establishment and generates conditions conducive to growth of established seedlings would have a greater influence on seedling dynamics than a species that provides a single effect. Studies have generally investigated facilitation by one of these processes, but not of both simultaneously. Consequently, the necessary information needed to select beneficiary species is often lacking to support restoration efforts.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The authors finding was that some herbaceous species can have a positive effect on mangrove recruitment, which for management purposes suggests that natural regeneration of large disturbed areas may occur much faster if beneficial species are present. However, their work shows that effects of herbaceous vegetation on mangrove regeneration may depend upon the species involved as well as the factors affecting mangrove recruitment according to each geographic area where planning to implement these types of projects


McKee KL, Rooth JE, Feller IC. MANGROVE RECRUITMENT AFTER FOREST DISTURBANCE IS FACILITATED BY HERBACEOUS SPECIES IN THE CARIBBEAN. Ecological Applications. 2007;17:1678–1693. doi:10.1890/06-1614.1.


  • National Wetlands Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Watsonville, California, USA
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, USA