Mangrove description - China

China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Mangroves are widespread along the coasts of China and Taiwan, but in almost case they are restricted to small stands of relatively stunted and degraded trees. They are most heavily concentrated on the southernmost coasts, in Hainan Island and Taiwan. The coast of China was once fringed with mangroves, but these have been largely destroyed. In Taiwan the largest spot of mangrove is located along the West Coast, especially in Tanshui estuary and further south, where the Chan-Yun-Chia reserve is located. Most of the coast of Hainan was once fringed with mangroves, but these have largely been destroyed. Now just a few small areas remain, including ones with well-developed mangroves, 22 of which fall within nature reserves (seventeen in China and five in Taiwan). The following species are present: Acanthus ebracteatus, Acanthus ilicifolius, Acrostichum aureum, Acrostichum speciosum, Aegiceras corniculatum, Avicennia alba, Avicennia marina, Avicennia officinalis, Bruguiera cylindrica, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Bruguiera sexangula, Ceriops tagal, Excoecaria agallocha, Heritiera littoralis, Kandelia candel, Lumnitzera littorea, Lumnitzera racemosa, Nypa fruticans, Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora stylosa, Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea, Sonneratia alba, Sonneratia caseolaris, Sonneratia ovata, and Xylocarpus granatum.

In Hong Kong the mangroves are concentrated in tiny areas with dwarf trees. The largest area of mangrove forest in Hong Kong is the Mai Po Marsh, in the North West, on the shores of Deep Bay. The mangroves in this site are all dwarf. Mai Po is highly managed; most of its area consists of shrimp ponds, or Gei wais, and fish ponds. The former often include patches of mangrove, while the latter are devoid of vegetation. Just few species of mangrove are found in this country: Acanthus ilicifolius, Aegiceras corniculatum, Avicennia marina, Bruguiera cylindrica, B. gymnorrhiza, Acrostichum aureum, Derris trifoliata, Excoecaria agallocha and Kandelia candel. There are six protected areas with mangrove in Hong Kong. The high population density of Hong Kong is mostly concentrated around the coasts. Almost all of the coastal areas have been drained and reclaimed for agriculture, fishponds, salt pans and urban development.

Uses and threats
Mangroves have been used extensively for firewood and charcoal production. As the mangrove area has decreased, so uses for timber and tannins have declined. Uses in traditional medicine remain important. Large areas of mangroves have also been reclaimed for agriculture. This has largely ceased, but areas are still being destroyed for the development of shrimp pounds. By contrast, mangroves, as strip forests, are increasingly being promoted for coastal protection. These strips are typically Kandelia candel and they are planted in front of reclaimed land. These have been shown to be very effective in reducing the breaching and erosion of dykes during cyclones.


Spalding, M., Blasco, F. & Field C.D., eds. 1997. World mangrove atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.
Wu Qi. 2000. Environment-China: Protecting mangrove forests from man-made threats


Play a role in the preparation of the revised World Atlas of Mangroves

The information provided above will be used as an input to the revised World Atlas of Mangroves and as national level description in the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2005 Thematic study on Mangroves.

During the past months the information has been updated thanks to the kind collaboration of several national and international experts, who has helped the Initiative in collecting recent data. The collection has been now completed and the page will be updated as soon as possible.

The Initiative would like to thank all the people who contributed with additional data, for the improvement of the information on this country. All the support provided will be duly acknowledged in the country profiles.
last updated:  Friday, October 6, 2006