Author

Abigail Jones

Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

Mark A. Teece

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to examine the impact of human activity on organic content levels in mangrove sediment. Sediment samples and forest structure data from four sites in Utila, Honduras ranging in degradation levels were recorded and analyzed. Results indicated that forest structure differences are likely influenced more by environmental factors and setting differences than by human impacts and degradation. Additionally, the sediment from the most impacted sites had the greatest levels of organic content, while sediment from the least impacted, marine protected area, had a significantly lower average organic content level. These findings have noteworthy implications for conservation, as the sites that are being dredged and cleared are also those with the highest organic content levels. Ultimately, the findings of this study suggest an urgent need for the conservation of sites that have previously been overlooked and continuously degraded.

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