Environment and Ecology Research Vol. 5(2), pp. 145 - 160
DOI: 10.13189/eer.2017.050209
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Mangrove Vegetation Dynamics of the Tanbi Wetland National Park in The Gambia


Adam Ceesay 1,*, N'Da Hypolite Dibi 2, Ebrima Njie 3, Matthias Wolff 4, Tidiani Koné 5
1 WASCAL Graduate Research Program in Climate Change and Biodiversity, Felix Houphouet Boigny University, Côte d'Ivoire
2 University Centre for Research and Remote Sensing Application (CURAT), /National Floristic Center (CNF), Felix Houphouet Boigny University, Côte d'Ivoire
3 Department of Natural Sciences, University of The Gambia, The Gambia
4 Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, University of Bremen, Germany
5 UFR Environment, Jean Lorougnon Guédé University, Côte d'Ivoire

ABSTRACT

Changes in mangrove vegetation have been identified as important indicators of environmental deterioration. The mangroves of the Tanbi Wetland National Park (TWNP) connect the Atlantic coast with the estuary of the River Gambia and as such, play an invaluable role in the agriculture, tourism and fisheries sectors of The Gambia. Our research seeks to understand the long-term changes in the mangrove vegetation in order to strengthen the formulation of sustainable alternative livelihoods and adaptation strategies to climate change. Mangrove vegetation dynamics was assessed by remote sensing, using decadal Landsat images covering 1973 - 2012. Physicochemical parameters were analyzed during the rainy and dry seasons for correlation with climate data. Our findings indicate that the long-term changes in salinity (24.5 and 35.8ppt) and water temperature (27.6℃ and 30.2℃) during the rainy and dry seasons respectively are retarding mangrove growth. Mangrove vegetation cover declined by 6%, while grassland increased by 56.4%. This research concludes that long-term hyper-salinity is the cause for the stunted vegetation and lack of mangrove rejuvenation in TWNP. We propose that specialized replanting systems such as the use of saplings be adopted instead of the conventional use of propagules. Alternative livelihoods also need to be diversified to support coastal communities.

KEYWORDS
Tanbi Wetland, Mangrove Vegetation, Hyper-salinity, Climate Change, Land Use

Cite this paper
Adam Ceesay , N'Da Hypolite Dibi , Ebrima Njie , Matthias Wolff , Tidiani Koné . "Mangrove Vegetation Dynamics of the Tanbi Wetland National Park in The Gambia." Environment and Ecology Research 5.2 (2017) 145 - 160. doi: 10.13189/eer.2017.050209.