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The excavation and cultivation in containers of mature grey mangroves, Avicennia marina
The grey mangrove, Avicennia marina, grows in intertidal habitat that is under pressure from expanding human settlement and industry along coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Inappropriate clearing, and also the dieback of large stands of A.marina associated with pollution, have created an interest in methods for revegetation and also the need for a better understanding of the species physiological tolerances including to herbicide residue. Eco-toxicological studies have so far been exclusively on seedlings because of perceived difficulties cultivating mature plants in controlled environments. Reforestation projects are often associated with low rates of establishment, because of the susceptibility of propagules, seedlings and saplings to wind and wave erosion, as well as flooding and desiccation associated with the natural inter-tidal environment. We report onthe successful excavation, and cultivation in containers with an automated irrigation system of eight mature A. marina plants. It is possible to transplant mature mangroves and achieve significant vegetative growth and also flowering and fruiting within the first year. It is difficult to compare the likely costs of transplanting a more limited number of mature plantsto many propagules. However, we suggest that in situations where reforestation with young propagules, seedlings or saplings has failed because of excessive wash, drowning or smothering, the transplanting of mature mangroves could be a better option.