Global mangrove deforestation and its interacting social-ecological drivers: a systematic review and synthesis

Avit Kumar Bhowmik, Rajchandar Padmanaban, Pedro Cabral, Maria M. Romeiras

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Globally mangrove forests are substantially declining and a globally synthesized database of the drivers of deforestation and drivers’ interaction is scarce. Here we synthesized the key social-ecological drivers of global mangrove deforestation by reviewing about two hundred published scientific studies over the last four decades (from 1980 to 2021). Our focus was on both natural and anthropogenic drivers with gradual and abrupt impacts and their geographic ranges of effects and how these drivers interact. We also summarized the patterns of global mangrove coverage decline between 1990 and 2020 and identified the threatened mangrove species and their geographic ranges. Our consolidated studies reported a 8,600 km2 decline in the global mangrove coverage between 1990 and 2020 with the highest decline occurring in South and Southeast Asia (3870 km2). We could identify 11 threatened mangrove species, two of which are critically endangered (Sonneratia griffithii and Bruguiera hainseii). Our reviewed studies pointed to aquaculture and agriculture as the predominant driver of global mangrove deforestation though the spatial distribution of their impacts varied. Gradual climate variations, i.e. seal-level rise, long-term precipitation and temperature changes and driven coastline erosion, constitute the second major group of drivers. Our findings underline a strong interaction across natural and anthropogenic drivers with the strongest interaction between the driver groups aquaculture and agriculture and industrialization and pollution. Our results suggest prioritizing globally coordinated empirical studies linking drivers and mangrove changes and a global development of policies for mangrove conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4433
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022


  • mangroves
  • Drivers
  • Aquaculture
  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Extreme events
  • Coastal wetlands
  • Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Global mangrove deforestation and its interacting social-ecological drivers: a systematic review and synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this