Conceptual Model of Mangrove Forest Processes
A change in sea level can translates to changes throughout the mangrove ecosystem. Elevation, relative to sea level, determines which tree species will thrive at a particular location and influences the biomass of the forest. When trees drop leaves, turn over roots, or die, their biomass decays and becomes part of the soil. Along with mineral inputs, biomass builds up the soil (accretion) and raises the elevation of the soil, counteracting the effects of sea level rise. Mangrove forests can be resilient to sea-level rise if accretion rates outpace sea-level rise, or if they have room to migrate inland to high ground.