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Vegetation description

Mangrove forests, dominated by stands of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, typically occur in protected coastal bays and estuaries where fresh water enters the ocean. The closed canopy allows only Bruguiera seedlings in the understory, but the swamp fern Acrostichum aureum and Rhizophora samoensis occupy openings. In one locality on the southern coast of SavaiŽi, Xylocarpus moluccensis, rare in Samoa, is associated with Bruguiera.

Often fronting the mangrove forest is a mangrove scrub community dominated by small to medium-sized trees of Rhizophora samoensis. Where Rhizophora samoensis competes with the larger Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, the former is shaded out by the latter.

Mueller-Dombois, D. & F. R. Fosberg. 1998. Vegetation of the tropical Pacific islands. Springer-Verlag, New York. 733 pp.
Whistler, W.A.
1992. Vegetation of Samoa and Tonga. Pac. Sci., 46(2): 159-178.

National level mangrove area estimates







1 000

Dahl, A.L. 1980. Regional ecosystem survey of the South Pacific Area. SPC/IUCN Technical Paper 179 South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 99 pp


Cited in: Fisher, P and Spalding, M.D. 1993. Protected areas with mangrove habitat. Draft Report World Conservation Centre, Cambridge, UK. 60 pp.



Pearsall and Whistler. 1991. Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping for Western Samoa. Report prepared for the Government of Western Samoa. South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, Noumea New Caledonia and East-West Center. Environment and Policy Institute.


Cited in: Idechong, N., Ellison, J., Jaensch, R. 1995. A Regional Wetlands Action Plan for the Pacific Islands. (Draft prepared for SPREP)



Ellison, J.C. 1995. Status report on Pacific Island Mangroves. In: Maragos, J.E.., Peterson, M.N.A., Eldredge, L.G., Bardach, J.E. and Takeuchi, H.F., eds. Marine and Coastal Biodiversity in the Tropical Island Pacific Region. Volume 1: Population Development and Conservation Priorities. East-West Center, Honolulu, USA


Ground survey

Trends in mangrove area extent over time

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