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Study on Sonneratia apetala Plantation Ecosystem Makes Great Progress

Recently, Prof. Dr. REN Hai and his colleagues/ partners of SCBG have made progress in study on Sonneratia apetala (an exotic mangrove species) plantation ecosystem. The study was supported by Sub-project of Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Guangdong Sci-Tech Planning Project. They studied 4-, 5-, 8- and 10-year old species of S. apetala plantations in Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve, West Guangdong, on the basis of investigation of the natural distribution and extending routes of S. apetala since 2003. The results showed that the exotic species grew better and was more suitable for vegetation restoration on barren land than native species such as Kandelia candel (Linn.) Druce. In addition, S. apetala, as a good species for ecological restoration, has the ability of faster biomass accumulation and stronger carbon fixation.

Exotic mangrove species Sonneratia apetala Buch.-Ham. (Sonneratiaceae), being native to Bengal and Sri Lanka, was introduced to Hainan Island, China in 1985, and then was applied for mangrove restoration on coastal areas of South China. With domestication of S. apetala, the species shows some invasive traits and may damage some local mangrove plantations. Heretofore, Ren and his research team found that native mangrove species colonized naturally under the S. apetala plantations after they were planted on the barren land after 4-5 years; while these native mangrove species disappeared naturally when the plantations were planted for 8-10 years, showing possible facilitating effects in ecological restoration (Ecological Research, 2008).

On the basis of the above studies, Ren is collaborating with Administration of Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve and Guangdong Ocean University to conduct the comparison experiment of structure, function and dynamics of S. apetala plantations, treated with deforestation, 50%-deforestation and non-deforestation, to thoroughly ascertain mechanisms and techniques of ecological restoration of mangrove in coastal areas of South China.

Prof. Ren Hai and his copartners have published their findings in internationally prestigious journals, Ecological Engineering and Plant and Soil, titled "Sonneratia apetala Buch.Ham in the mangrove ecosystems of China: An invasive species or restoration species?" and "Biomass accumulation and carbon storage of four different aged Sonneratia apetala plantations in Southern China", respectively.


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