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Vegetation description

Mangroves in Egypt are distributed over numerous small stands. These mangroves comprise the northern latitudinal limits of the Indo-Pacific-East African mangrove realm, and as elsewhere toward the latitudinal limits, the mangroves are species-poor. Thus, only two species of mangroves are recorded from Egypt with Avicennia marina the most widespread. This species is tolerant of relatively high salinity, together with low rainfall and temperature conditions, and at El-Monqatea constitutes the natural northernmost limit of this species.

A second species, Rhizophora mucronata, occurs at a few sites in the Red Sea south of 25N (for example, on Rumah Island on the Wajh Bank in Saudi Arabia). This species requires more humid conditions and is less tolerant to high salinity when compared with Avicennia marina. In Egypt, R. mucronata occurs at several southern locations (e.g. Marsa Sha'ab at 22 50' S) close to the Sudanese border.

Two additional species of mangroves (Bruguiera gymnorhiza and Ceriops tagal) may have occurred in southern Egypt in the past. However at present, there are no reliable records of these species in the Red Sea north of the southern Sudan and Djibouti respectively (Saenger, 2002).

At their latitudinal limits, mangrove communities are generally characterized by decreasing plant height and by their disjunct (patchy) distribution (Dodd et al., 1999). Both of these characteristics are apparent in the mangroves of Egypt. As detailed below, mangrove heights in Egypt rarely exceed 5 m, reflecting the generally limiting environment (high salinity, low rainfall, extreme temperatures) in which they occur. Similarly, the distribution of mangroves in the southern Red Sea is more continuous than in the northern Red Sea where mangroves are confined to restricted, favourable habitats.

Dodd, R.S., F. Blasco, Z.A. Rafii and E. Torquebiau. 1999. Mangroves of the United Arab Emirates: ecotypic diversity in cuticular waxes at the bioclimatic extreme. Aquat. Bot. 63:291-304.
2002. Ecological Assessment of Mangroves in Egypt. Consultancy report by Saenger, P. Rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable utilization of mangroves in Egypt. TCP/EGY/0168. Ministry of Agriculture and land reclamation, Ministry of state for environment, FAO, Cairo, 31 pp.

National level mangrove area estimates







86 100

Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. and Field, C.D., eds. 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.


Map analysis based on a regional sketch map. Sheppard, C. Price, A. and Roberts, C. 1992. Marine Ecology of the Arabian Region: Patterns and Processes in Extreme Tropical Environments. Academic Press, London, UK). Low resolution data.



Oshi, H. S., Abdel Rahman, S.A., Riad, M. and El Batanoni, K. 1998. Mangrove Forest Assessment in Egypt. Report for the National Institute for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences of the State Ministry of Scientific Research and the Central Administration for Afforestation & Environment of the Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation. Cairo, Egypt


Remote sensing and ground survey

Trends in mangrove area extent over time

The estimates for 1980, 1990 and 2000 are based on expert estimate.

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