Ring width and vessel features of the mangrove Excoecaria agallocha L. depend on salinity in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh

Author:- Mohammad Raqibul Hasan, Siddique, Pieter A. Zuidema, Ute Sass-Klaassen, Md. Qumruzzaman Chowdhury
Category:- Journal; Year:- 2021
Discipline:- Forestry & Wood Technology Discipline
School:- Life Science School


The Bangladesh Sundarbans is the largest continuous mangrove in the world that providing crucial environmental services, particularly related to coastal protection and livelihoods of millions of people. However, anthropogenic disturbances, diseases infestation and environmental changes including sea level rise (SLR) and fresh-water flux into the delta are threatening the Sundarbans and other mangrove ecosystems worldwide. Protection of mangrove ecosystems requires knowledge on factors that mainly drive growth and vitality of tree species to evaluate which consequences can be expected from, mainly hydrology-related, environmental changes. In this study, we assessed the nature and periodicity of tree rings in Excoecaria agallocha, a wide spread mangrove species in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. We also analysed the influence of climatic factors, such as precipitation, temperature and vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and river discharge, as a proxy of salinity on ring width (RW) and vessel features, such as mean vessel area (MVA) and mean vessel density (MVD). E. agallocha forms distinct tree-ring boundary that characterized by a narrow (2–4 cells wide) band of radially flattened fibres. The RW as well as the MVA and MVD are crossdatable. The RW is mainly driven by salinity which is influenced by freshwater inputs through precipitation during monsoon along with river discharge January to April. The MVA and MVD responded to similar seasons and months as RW, but mostly with opposite signs in MVD. The results suggest that fresh water inputs through precipitation and river discharge positively influence the radial growth of E. agallocha in the Sundarbans. The RW and vessel features can be used as proxies to explore the growth dynamics of this species, especially in relation to global environmental changes.

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