Mangrove Reforestation in Panama: An Evaluation of Planting in Areas Deforested by a Large Oil Spill

Duke, N.C. and C.D. Field

Publication Date:

In Panama, and most other places, restoration of mangrove forests following large oil spills had chiefly focused on replanting in deforested oil gaps. In these instances, recovery might take at least 25-30 yr for mangroves to approach their pre-spill condition, based chiefly on plant growth estimates of Rhizophora species. The kinds of assistance applied in the past included removal of oil and/or replanting. However, in providing assistance we presume, suspect, or know, that natural processes, like recruitment and plant growth, are unable to repair habitat damage both in the short and longer term, or either. Unfortunately, our collective experience with these matters remains inadequate so all measures applied must be treated as experimental. Therefore, restoration programs must be subject to close scrutiny, and they must be carefully monitored to assess their success or failure. If this is not done, we run the risk of re- applying damaging techniques which might worsen already fragile conditions in oil-damaged mangroves.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems