Ayeyarwady kanazo swamp forest



Ayeyarwady kanazo swamp forest is an intertidal forest type dominated by the Endangered species Heritiera fomes (‘kanazo’, Stamp, 1925a). It occurs in the upper intertidal zone, normally above true mangroves, where the influence of freshwater is greater and water salinity is much lower than in seawater due to freshwater influx from the floodplain (Kathiresan et al., 2010). The ecosystem is characterised by a tree canopy of up to 25 m, the presence of pneumatophores and occasional flooding by fresh or saltwater (Stamp, 1925a; Davies et al., 2004). Ayeyarwady kanazo swamp forest once occupied very large areas of the Ayeyarwady delta, but its utility for construction, use for fuel wood and close proximity to Yangon, and expansion of rice cropping led to widespread declines of this ecosystem (Stamp, 1924).

Assessment summary

Ayeyarwady Kanazo Swamp Forest is thought to have undergone a major decline in extent around the early 20 th century in response to overexploitation for fuelwood and proximity to Yangon (Stamp, 1924). It continues to be threatened by coastal development for aquaculture and agriculture, sea level rise and fuelwood extraction. Although no reliable data on its distribution is available, our broad analysis of global mangrove distribution data occurring within the area mapped as ‘Tropical Swamp Forest’ by Davis (1960) suggests that as little as 2.6% of this ecosystem may remain. With only one record in GBIF and no confirmed on-ground records, our estimate may be considered conservative. Thus, Ayeyarwady Kanazo Swamp Forest is considered Critically Endangered, with plausible bounds Critically Endangered – Collapsed.