Established mangrove forests along the coastal area of the Arabian Peninsula and African side of the Red Sea are uniquely different from mangrove forests in other parts of the world because of their low biodiversity and harsh habitat of arid and highly saline conditions. Therefore mangrove forests in this area appear in patchy and scattered patterns at mouths of wadi or in sheltered lagoons with rare and irregular flooding. Most of them are pure forests of Avicennia marina, occasionally mixed with Rhizophora mucronata in the southern part of the Red Sea. In this study, we analyze the forest structure of A. marina and discuss the regeneration strategy and the forest dynamics of this unique mangrove species. Three experimental plots of 1000 to 2000 trees/ha were selected from north to south along the Red Sea coast. The highest tree size (6.8m) suggested severe effects of the high salinity of the Red Sea (3.2 to 4.9%) on tree growth. Dense mantle vegetation had developed at the forest edge facing the open sea to protect the forest interior against strong waves and wind. Tree growth was also prevented by severe drought on the landside edge of the forest. All the forests had a dense seedling bank throughout the forest floor, with a very high rate of turnover and regeneration, which seldom occurred in other forests.
Gray mangrove (Avicennia marina)
the Red Sea