Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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These mangroves, in the Trang River Estuary in Thailand, are under threat from upstream discharge of wastewater, industrial facilities and unsustainable aqua culture practices - particularly commercial shrimp farming. From 1975 to 1993, it is estimated that about half of Thailand's mangroves along its 2,560 kilometer coastline have been lost. The larger area of the Had Chao Mai Marine National Park, the Ta Libong Island Non-Hunting Area and the Trang River Estuaries has been designated a Ramsar Wetland Site and supports over 200 bird species including many "critically endangered" , "endangered", "vulnerable" and "threatened" species.

In these two Landsat images shrimp farms appear as bluish purple squares located near the streams. Between the earlier image acquired in January, 1990 and the later image acquired approximately 11 years later there is an explosion in shrimp farming throughout the estuary.

Mangrove ecosystems are the interface between the marine and terrestrial ecosystems and provide important services to both. The fallen leaves and branches contribute important nutrients, making healthy nursery areas for the breeding of many marine species and in turn creating healthy fisheries. They are also prime habitat for migratory birds, amphibians and terrestrial species.

The international market for shrimp will likely continue to drive the development of commercial shrimp farming. Protection of areas such as Kantang will become increasingly important to preserving the dwindling areas of viable mangrove forest throughout the tropics. View detailed information

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