Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (727 KB)

Title: Sonneratia apetala Buch. Ham in the mangrove ecosystems of China: An invasive species or restoration species?

Author: Ren, Hai; Lu, Hongfang; Shen, Weijun; Huang, Charlie; Guo, Qinfeng; Li, Zhi'an; Jian, Shuguang.;

Date: 2010

Source: Ecological Engineering 35:1243-1248.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication


By the end of 1990s when China initiated a 10-year mangrove reforestation project, the mangrove forest area had decreased from250,000 to 15,000 ha. Over 80% of current Chinese mangroves are degraded secondary forests or plantations. As an initial restoration and reforestation effort, Sonneratia apetala, a native of India, Bengal and Sri Lanka, was introduced in 1985 to Dong Zhaigang Mangrove Nature Reserve in Hainan Island from Bengal. It has then been introduced into other places since 1991. However, the further use of the species is becoming increasingly controversial as there are emerging signs that it may become invasive in certain locations. A comprehensive evaluation of the species’ condition in China regarding benefits and risks is critically needed. Here, we map the introduction and dispersal routes and monitor the growth of S. apetala in China from 1985 to 2006. S. apetala grows fast and performs well in the introduced 2300 ha muddy beaches area. It greatly improves the soil fertility and shows a suite of suitable characteristics as a pioneer restoration species. Currently, no natural invasion of S. apetala has been observed in the northern mangrove area. However, invasion into natural forests does occur in southerly locations such as Shenzhen, Zhanjiang and Dong Zhaigang. In these locations, S. apetala exhibits invasive characteristics such as overgrowth and high spreading ability that evidently affects local mangrove ecosystem structure and function. While the species clearly offers some benefits at some locations where it cannot naturally invade, it appears harmful to other native mangrove species, posing amajor practical problem to both ecologists and land managers. This situation will be similar to previously imported non-native and invasive intertidal wetland species, Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass), with similar results and problems.

Keywords: mangrove forest, biotic invasion, restoration, sonneratia apetala, china

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)



Ren, Hai; Lu, Hongfang; Shen, Weijun; Huang, Charlie; Guo, Qinfeng; Li, Zhi'an; Jian, Shuguang. 2010. Sonneratia apetala Buch. Ham in the mangrove ecosystems of China: An invasive species or restoration species?. Ecological Engineering 35:1243-1248.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.