Kaly, U.L. and G.P. Jones
Past mangrove restoration projects in developing countries have focused only on methods of re-establishing trees, with little attention given to assessing whether ecosystem function is restored. However, the goal of mangrove restoration projects should be to actively promote a return to the natural assemblage structure and function (within the bounds of natural variation) that is self-sustaining. This goal requires: (i) identifying the natural state, including key organisms in maintaining the physical substratum, community structure and food webs maintaining fish stocks; (ii) developing biotechnology for restoring key organisms; and (iii) assessing the long-term success of the project. As restoration promises to be an important tool for maintaining coastal ecosystem health in developing countries, priority should be given to incorporating restoration projects and their evaluation into coastal management plans.