USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics

Ecosystem Processes: Tropical Ecosystems

Forested Wetlands on Pacific Islands

[Drawing]: map of Kosrae, FSMWe conduct research on basic ecological processes in mangrove forests and freshwater swamps. Efforts are underway to incorporate the process of adaptive management into sustainable natural resource management in developing countries.

Research is based primarily on the island of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, where mangrove forests (shown in green on the right) account for 15% of the land area. Freshwater swamps just inland from the mangroves probably account for another 15%. Approximately 8,000 people live on this 100-km2 island, primarily on the coastal plain behind the mangroves.

Major Areas of Research

[Photo]: research collaborator from University of Queensland Patterns of species distribution are being examined throughout the Indo-Pacific region for Rhizophora, a common genus of mangrove trees. A collaborator (left) at the University of Queensland is describing morphological variability and genetic relationships among these species.

[Photo]: Birdseye view of Kosrae forest Both hydrologic flows and stable isotope patterns are analyzed to clarify relationships among coastal wetlands, especially mangrove forests and freshwater swamps. For instance, groundwater flows through the levee on the right affect both the freshwater swamp and the mangrove forest.

[Photo]: Man using treeband in mangrove swamp Studies of basic characteristics of wetlands include long-term monitoring and focussed analyses of ecological processes. For instance, intensive studies of soil environmental characteristics in different parts of a mangrove forest help explain differences in tree growth rates determined from tree band data (right),

[Photo]: mangrove crab Consideration of socioeconomic factors provides an essential context for determining research priorities. Economic valuations indicate that mangroves and freshwater swamps provide the equivalent of approximately 60% of median household income in Kosrae. Mangrove crabs (left) are an important forest product that are both consumed locally and sold in an export market.

[Photo]: meeting in Kosrae Introducing the concept of adaptive management to Kosraeans may provide an alternative to expensive, top-down regulation of natural resource use. A group of influential citizens (right) is considering a proposal for using this technique to reguluate the harvest of mangrove crabs in individual estuaries.

[Photo]: Outdoor classroom in Kosrae Continual outreach and extension activities bring research results into classrooms and households through the Pacific islands. Micronesian natural resource managers and educators are essential and integral partners in these activities (left).

Research conducted by:
Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 10:58:02 AM