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Restoration of shorebird-roosting mudflats by partial deforesting mangroves in Tanshui River estuary, northern Taiwan

Shou-Chung Huang  Shang-Shu Shih  Yi-shen Ho  Chang-Po Chen  Hwey-Lian Hsieh  
【摘要】:The estuary of Tanshui River hosts the most northern mangrove population (Kandelia obovata, Sheue, Liu Yong) in Taiwan and is an important habitat for migrant waterfowls and shorebirds in East Asia. Three mangrove protected areas were established in the 1980s to stop decline of mangrove forests caused by urbanization and overdevelopment. Since then, the single-species mangrove forests have gradually expanded and invaded mudflats, and as a result, reduced estuarine biodiversity and eliminated viable habitats for shorebirds. A small patch of mudflats (0.16 ha) was created in early 2007 by removing mangrove trees and then, the changes in sediment characteristics, crab and bird populations were monitored. Most sediment characteristics (grain size, organic carbon content, redux depth) except for water content, and crab communities were not significantly different between the mangrove control sites and the reformed mudflat sites within a year. Seasonal variations were observed in organic carbon content, benthic chlorophyll a concentrations and densities of crabs. Wintering shorebirds increased dramatically in both individual numbers and species counts after the mudflat was created. The mudflat served primarily as roosting habitats for shorebirds since the benthic invertebrates did not increase enough to support birds' nutritional needs. This pioneer study showed that mangrove wetlands can be managed to increase biodiversity, particularly the avian communities.

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