Malaysian Mangrove Forests and their Significance to the Coastal Marine Environment
Kamaruzaman Jusoff
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Department of Forest Production, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia,
43400 UPM Serdang Selangor, Malaysia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(4):979–1005
Mangrove forests are one of the most productive and bio-diverse wetland environments on earth. Yet these unique coastal tropical forest environments are among the most threatened habitats in the world. Some key progress points in mangrove conservation, restoration, and research in Malaysia are highlighted. Based on an intensive literature review, the ecology and ecological management, distribution and areas of existing mangroves in the world and Malaysia, issues associated with mangrove conservation and restoration are discussed. Growing in the intertidal areas and estuary mouths between land and sea, mangroves provide critical habitat for diverse marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. Important for the flora and fauna is the opportunity to continue living in a sustainable environment and in suitable conditions. A potential stand is the place that obtains the possibility of germination and establishment of a plant species according to their physical, chemical, and biological demands. In many cases it is seen that because of unsuitable selection of site and species, afforestation and reforestation projects are forced to fail after spending time, cost, and labor. The population boom and rapid economic developments have greatly reduced mangrove areas in Malaysia despite the Malaysian government launching a series of programs to protect mangroves in the 1980s and establishing mangrove ecosystems as high-priority areas for improving environmental and living resource management. The issues, threats, and significant values of mangroves also were highlighted. A more systematic protection strategy using ecological engineering management-based, active restoration and rehabilitation measurements still are urgently needed in order to preserve these valuable resources in Malaysia.