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The sub-fossils of leaf fragments in sediments as an indicator of mangrove development in the Yingluo Bay, Guangxi, Southwest China over the last 130 years
Wanzhu Wang, Xianwei Meng, Xiangqin Wang, Zhen Li
doi: 10.1007/s13131-018-1221-5
Located in the intertidal zone of the tropical and subtropical coasts, mangrove forests are an important ecosystem in the global carbon cycle and serve as a protector of local seashores. Under the double impacts of climate change, especially sea-level rise, and human activity, mangrove forests around the world have faced degradation, against which the reconstruction of the historical development of mangrove forests using an effective indicator has been regarded as a necessary strategy for designing a predictable model. As the primary product of mangrove forest, it is reasonable that the content of leaf fragments of mangrove (CLFM) buried in sediments in the form of sub-fossils potentially has the same indicative function for the development of mangrove forests as that of widely-used mangrove pollen. In this study, the leaf fragments of mangrove in two sediment cores (YLW02 and YLW03) drilled in the Yingluo Bay in Guangxi, Southwest China were picked out and weighted for calculation of CLFM, which was used as an indicator of mangrove development after examination of parallelism and a statistical correlation of the CLFM with the concentration of mangrove pollen. The results clearly show that the vertical distribution of the CLFM for the core taken from the landward margin of mangrove forests (YLW03) only parallels that of the local mangrove species (Rhizophora. stylosa) with a significantly positive correlation (R=0.56, P=0.05), while the vertical distribution of the CLFM for the core taken from the interface between seaward margin of mangrove forest and the trunk of tidal creeks of the bay (YLW02) parallels the summed concentration of mangrove pollen (SCMP) with a more positive correlation than that of YLW03 (R=0.85, P=0.01), indicating that the trunk outlet of tidal creeks must have been the site where mangrove production gathered from the overall forest rather than from local production. The variations in the CLFM of both cores indicate that overall the mangrove forests in the Yingluo Bay have increasingly flourished over the last 130 years except for the interval of 1940–1950 AD in response to an increase in air temperature and decrease in rainfall, which would have resulted in an increase in seawater salinity; while the coupled extreme increases in air temperature and in rainfall in summer, which would have resulted in extreme decreases in seawater salinity, would be responsible for the relative degradation of mangrove forests in the interval of 1940–1950 AD.
key words: leaf fragment, mangrove development, Yingluo Bay, last 130 years, air temperature and rainfall

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