Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Economic Value
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
  Mangrove Products
Non-food | Food

Productive use value is the one most visible for mangroves. In Singapore, because mangroves have shrunk in area so considerably, productive use value is practically zero, but in the rest of the world, this is still very significant. The products that can be extracted for sale in local and international markets are myriad.

Nipah products: These include industrial ethanol from distillation of the fermented plant sap from a decapitated inflorescence, vinegar or fermented beverages, sugar (gula melaka) by boiling the plant sap, attap or thatch for roofing huts, cigarette papers from the stripped surface layers of the leaf lets and a form of salt from the ashed leaflets.
close-up of fruit ball
Fruit of Nipah palm
processed seeds
A packet of 'attap chee'
The endosperm of the unripe seed (attap chee) is soaked in a syrup and is a common component (and some say significant part) of a local dessert called ice-kacang. The fruit is harvested from the Nipah and other palms and processed in a syrup before being sold
Seafood: Oysters, clams, mussels, cockles and other shellfish may be harvested directly or cultivated for consumption. Prawn and crab ponds converted from mangrove areas were a common sight in Singapore until recently. The Blood cockle (Anadara granosa, Family Arcidae) is actually a mudflat animal and rather rare in Singapore. Large quantities, however, are imported from neighbouring countries. In many areas, cockles are actually cultured.

Fish: (grouper, milkfish, mullet, sea bass, tilapia) are grown in ponds, floating cages or corrals which are fenced up areas in sheltered waters. In Taiwan, mudskippers are cultured. Mud crabs (Scylia spp.) are cultivated or fattened in such ponds.

Many larger species of sesarmine crabs (e.g. Tree-climbing or Vinegar crabs) are collected in large numbers in Thailand and Indonesia for food. Stockpiling and game farming of nearshore marine animals such as cockles, giant clams and sea cucumbers are practised by Indonesians and Melanesians.
close-up of cockles
The Blood cockle
(Anadara granosa) is now
relatively rare in Singapore

close-up of lokan
Lokan (Polymesoda expansa)
is collected even locally from mudflats

fried crabs on a plate
Tree-climbing or Vinegar crabs
(Episesarma spp.) sold with
eggs (gravid) at Chatuchat market
in Bangkok, Thailand

Edible plant products:
Commercial honey is extracted from some mangrove areas as many of the flowers are animal-pollinated and have nectar as a reward. In Taiwan, Gracilaria, a red algae, is cultivated in abandoned fish ponds or old saltpans, as raw material for agar-agar.

Live pet food: Small frogs sold in aquariums as live food for carnivorous fish and other animals are usually juvenile Crab-eating frogs (Rana cancrivora).
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