Tanintharyi mangrove forest



Myanmar tropical mangrove forests have a closed canopy that are predominantly evergreen. Tanintharyi mangrove forests occur from 9°N up to approximately latitude 16°N. They typically occur along open-coast and sheltered areas of soft- sediment (Bird, 2010). In Tanintharyi, mangroves are estimated to occupy approximately 2,500 km 2 (Gaw et al., 2018).

Assessment summary

Although Tanintharyi mangrove forests are considered fairly stable, they have undergone recent deforestation, primarily as a result of agricultural development for palm oil, aquaculture and rice production, their losses do not yet meet category thresholds for a reduction in geographic distribution. Similarly, models of biotic and abiotic degradation suggest the ecosystem does not meet any category thresholds for Criteria C or D. The ecosystem is assessed as Least Concern under A1. However, net stability of mangrove extent and functionality measures hides substantial gains and losses (Gaw et al., 2018), highlighting issues with using one area metric alone. For example, 384 km 2 of mangroves were lost between 1989 and 2014, but this was offset by gains of 302 km 2 . Substantial gains are seen in major estuaries such as the Dawei River, where land use change has increased fluvial sedimentation, and mangroves have colonised newly emerged mudbanks in the estuary (Gaw et al., 2018). These young mangrove forests are likely to be structurally simpler and less diverse than long established forests that are undergoing declines in extent through land use intensification. Thus, if we assume compensated losses slow, due to lack of accommodation space or intensifying coastal land use (particularly oil palm), the ecosystem is listed as Near Threatened under A2a.