Heritiera fomes


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Heritiera fomes
Species Authority: Buch.-Ham.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-03-07
Assessor(s): Kathiresan, K., Salmo III, S.G., Fernando, E.S., Peras, J.R., Sukardjo, S., Miyagi, T., Ellison, J., Koedam, N.E., Wang, Y., Primavera, J., Jin Eong, O., Wan-Hong Yong, J. & Ngoc Nam, V.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B.A., Livingstone, S.R. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)
This species has a restricted distribution in South Asia and is found in the landward margin, which is a mangrove area most threatened by coastal development. However, this species can be locally common. There has been an estimated population decline of 50% to 80% in the majority of its range (Malaysia) based on decline of mangrove area due to coastal development and extraction since the 1950s, primarily due to the clearing of mangroves for rice farming, shrimp aquaculture and coastal development. No additional data is available to estimate decline over three generation lengths (120 years). This species is listed as Endangered. However, populations in India and Bangladesh are rapidly declining and may qualify for Critically Endangered at a regional level.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found the Sundarbans (Beautiful Forest) in India, Bangladesh, (Irrawaddy) Myanmar, Thailand, and northern Malaysia which is its southernmost limit.
Bangladesh; India; Malaysia; Myanmar; Thailand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species can be locally common and abundant in some parts of its range such as the Sundarbans and in Bangladesh, but has a limited overall distribution. In Bangladesh and India, this species is rapidly declining. For example, in India, this species was found in only 6% of 100 sampling sites (Kathiresan 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in the upstream estuarine zone in the high intertidal region. It prefers freshwater, and is fast-growing in low-saline environments. It occurs in stands and grows up to 25 m. It is the only Heritiera species that produces pneumatophores.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is a valuable commercial species for timber and is planted in commercial plantations (fuelwood and construction), but it is preferred for timber extraction in the wild.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is quickly disappearing in many parts of its range due to coastal development (creation of ponds), disease, typhoons, and in areas where there has been a reduction in freshwater flow (creation of dams). Wide areas of Thailand's mangroves have been selectively cut for charcoal and export. Shrimp farming has also increased since the 1970s and has led to the clearance of large areas that include this species. Coastal development (urban, industrial, agriculture) is another leading cause of mangrove removal in Thailand, and salt ponds and mining have led to mangrove loss (Spalding et al. 1997).There has been an estimated population decline of 50% to 80% based on decline of mangrove area in the western coast of peninsular Malaysia due to coastal development and extraction since the 1950s, primarily due to the clearing of mangroves for rice farming, shrimp aquaculture and coastal development in upstream areas where this species can be found (Ong 1995, 2003).

Another major threat to this species is "top-dying disease," and the cause is unknown. It is also being replaced by palm oil plantations in Malaysia, especially as it is found at the landward margin where mangrove species are most vulnerable to coastal development and human activities.

Sea level rise is a major threat, especially to back mangroves that have no area in which to expand. Mangrove species with a habitat on the landward margin may be particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise if owing to coastal development their movement inland is blocked.

All mangrove ecosystems occur within mean sea level and high tidal elevations, and have distinct species zonations that are controlled by the elevation of the substrate relative to mean sea level. This is because of associated variation in frequency of elevation, salinity and wave action (Duke et al. 1998). With rise in sea-level, the habitat requirements of each species will be disrupted, and species zones will suffer mortality at their present locations and re-establish at higher elevations in areas that were previously landward zones (Ellison 2005). If sea-level rise is a continued trend over this century, then there will be continued mortality and re-establishment of species zones. However, species that are easily dispersed and fast growing/fast producing will cope better than those which are slower growing and slower to reproduce.

In addition, mangrove area is declining globally due to a number of localized threats. The main threat is habitat destruction and removal of mangrove areas. Reasons for removal include cleared for shrimp farms, agriculture, fish ponds, rice production and salt pans, and for the development of urban and industrial areas, road construction, coconut plantations, ports, airports, and tourist resorts. Other threats include pollution from sewage effluents, solid wastes, siltation, oil, and agricultural and urban runoff. Climate change is also thought to be a threat, particularly at the edges of a species range. Natural threats include cyclones, hurricane and tsunamis.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures specific to this species, but its range may include some marine and coastal protected areas. For examples, this species is found in several protected areas within its range including the Sundarbans. Continued monitoring and research is recommended, as well as the inclusion of mangrove areas in marine and coastal protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Blasco, F., Aizpuru, M. and Gers, C. 2001. Depletion of the mangroves of Continental Asia. Wetlands Ecology and Management 9(3): 255.

Duke, N.C., Ball, M.C. and Ellison, J.C. 1998. Factors influencing biodiversity and distributional gradients in mangroves. Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters 7: 27-47.

Ellison, A.M. 2005. Loss of foundation species: consequences for the structure and dynamics of forested ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 479-486.

FAO. 2007. The World's Mangroves 1980-2005. FAO Forestry Paper 153. Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

Kathiresan, K. 2008. Biodiversity of Mangrove Ecosystems. Proceedings of Mangrove Workshop. GEER Foundation, Gujarat, India.

Mukherjee, A.K. 1984. The environmental impact analysis for three mangroves species of Indian Sunderbans. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 26(3-4): 181-182.

Ong, J.E. 1995. The ecology of mangrove conservation and management. Hydrobiologia 295(343-351).

Ong, J.E. 2003. Plants of the Merbok mangrove, Kedah, Malaysia and the urgent need for their conservation. Folia Malaysiana 4(1-18).

Robertson, A.I. and Alongi, D.M. 1992. Tropical Mangrove Ecosystems. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.

Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. and Field, C.D. (eds). 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan.

Citation: Kathiresan, K., Salmo III, S.G., Fernando, E.S., Peras, J.R., Sukardjo, S., Miyagi, T., Ellison, J., Koedam, N.E., Wang, Y., Primavera, J., Jin Eong, O., Wan-Hong Yong, J. & Ngoc Nam, V. 2010. Heritiera fomes. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
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