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Human Environment
Atlas Team

Mangroves are plants that grow in estuarine coastal environments.  Data are provided by the FAO Forest Resources Division and describe mangrove distribution and area coverage in hectares along the coast of Africa.

"Mangroves are commonly found along sheltered coastlines in the tropics and sub-tropics where they fulfil important socio-economic and environmental functions. These include the provision of a large variety of wood and non-wood forest products; coastal protection against the effects of wind, waves and water currents; conservation of biological diversity – including a number of endangered mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds; protection of coral reefs, sea grass beds and shipping lanes against siltation; and provision of habitat, spawning grounds and nutrients for a variety of fish and shellfish, including many commercial species. High population pressure in coastal areas has, however, led to the conversion of many mangrove areas to other uses, including infrastructure, aquaculture, rice and salt production. Numerous case studies describe mangrove losses over time, but information on the status and trends of mangrove area extent at the global level is scarce." FAO, 2003


  • Name: Status and trends in mangrove distribution for coastal Africa
  • Description: Mangrove distribution and area coverage in hectares as published by the FAO Forest Resources Division in 2003.
  • Source: FAO Forest Resources Division  
  • Original Publisher: FAO Forest Resources Division
  • Citation: FAO, 2003. Status and trends in mangrove area extent worldwide. By Wilkie, M.L. and Fortuna, S. Forest Resources Assessment Working Paper No. 63. Forest Resources Division. FAO, Rome. (Unpublished).
  • Processing notes: Combined data for all mangrove species were extracted from the report cited above (Fao, 2003), and the data for the most reliable annual assessment was extracted and digitised to country polygons.
  • Data downloads:
mangroves_shp_small.jpg (47838 bytes)