6,000 years ago mangroves were widespread in Oman, but today only one particularly resilient mangrove species survives: it is found in only a few places. This happened due to climate change.
Most of the mangrove forests on the Oman coast disappeared about 6,000 years ago. Until now, the cause of this event was unknown.
A new study from the University of Bonn in Germany claims that the collapse of coastal ecosystems was caused by climate change. This is not about falling sea levels or the influence of people, as previously thought.
It is noted that the rate of disappearance of mangroves was astounding: many of the reserves were irretrievably lost over several decades. Mangroves occupy a special ecological niche: they grow in the so-called tidal range, that is, in coastal areas that are underwater at high tide and dry out at low tide. Mangroves love warm climates; most species cannot tolerate sea surface temperatures below 24°C.
In order to find out the reasons for the mass death of trees, scientists studied the fossils, thanks to which it became known that there were many mangrove lagoons on the coast of Oman. However, about 6,000 years ago, they suddenly disappeared almost completely. With the support of the scientific advisor, Professor Göst Hoffmann, the researchers have combined numerous geochemical, sedimentological, and archaeological finds into a big picture. As a result, it turned out that the collapse of these ecosystems has climatic causes.
The results now show that climate change has had two consequences: on the one hand, it caused salinization of the soil, on the other hand, the vegetation cover in the affected areas has generally decreased due to drought. Mangrove ecosystems struggled to a point and then disappeared for decades. Currently, the only mangroves in Oman are very resistant species and are found in only a few locations.