Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
The Ecosystem: Biotic components
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)

It is not easy to define mangroves using objective criteria despite numerous attempts. Classification of vegetation, unfortunately, is subjective. In this website, the somewhat arbitrary classification of Tomlinson (1986) has been adopted with species categorised as major and minor elements of the mangrove community or as associates.
Mangrove Ecosystem
Abiotic components
Winds and currents
Light, temperature, humidity

Biotic components

Adopting this system, in Singapore, we have 19 major species (six families), nine minor species (seven families), and 34 associate species (21 families) (For a list of all these species).

Following Tomlinson, the major mangrove species possess the following attributes:

(1) They are obligate inhabitants of the mangrove ecosystem and cannot be found elsewhere;
(2) They have a major role in the structure of the mangrove community and can form pure stands;
(3) They are morphologically adapted to their environment (e.g. having aerial roots and vivipary of the embryo);

(4) Can withstand saline conditions, with a physiological mechanism for salt exclusion (e.g. by excretion) so that they can grow in sea water; and
How mangrove plants cope
with salty conditions

Salt secretors and ultrafiltrators
Breathing roots
(5) Are taxonomically distinct from terrestrial relatives, being separated at least at the generic level.

Minor mangrove elements are those which are distinguished by their inability to form a conspicuous component of this vegetation type. Such plants rarely form pure stands and occupy the periphery of the habitat.

Mangrove associates include species which are associated with beach forest or coastal communities and which are dispersed by sea currents. Such species can include Cyperus pedunculatus (sedge), Ipomoea pescaprae (Beach morning glory), Oncosperma tigillarium (nibung) and Pluchea indica (a composite shrub).
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre