Tidal mudflats and coastal swamps are distributed along the sea-land ecological transition in humid tropical and subtropical regions. They are among the most endangered ecosystems on Earth, and have been intensively impacted both from water and land during the last 50 years. These transitional systems play a key-role in the homeostasis of inshore waters and whole watersheds, being natural buffers between the land and the sea, and establishing a network of connections between terrestrial and marine systems. Rational management has been frequently attempted; however, the vast majority of such initiatives proved to be largely unsustainable. Furthermore, since human impact is highest from land, frequently only a narrow coastal belt is managed, allowing only for the conservation of the most marine portion of these ecological transitions. More recently, zoning and multiple-use strategies offer promising perspectives of both survival and sustainable profit.
It is here proposed that parks and rehabilitation projects are planned and designed to include wider portions of the ecological sea-land transition, incorporating subtidal, intertidal and supratidal systems, in a more holistic perspective.
Table of Contents
Introduction:; Man, tropical tidal mudflats & coastal swamps; Integrated coastal management from sea to land: "transects" vs. "belts"; Potential flagship species of mudflats & coastal swamps throughout the world; Ecotourism & parks' equipment: the case of mangrove & mudflat parks; Index.