Tropical mangrove forests can play an important role in the functioning of adjacent marine ecosystems, by protecting them from an excess in land‐derived sediment and nutrients. The strength of this interaction may however depend on the nutrient status of the mangrove forest. This study related the nutrient status of eight mangrove forests in Phang Nga Bay (Thailand) to the land‐cover distributions in the upstream catchment areas. Nutrient status was assessed using indicators integrating over short (porewater and sediment nutrient composition) and long timespans (mangrove leaves and sesarmid crab tissue characteristics). Using multivariate statistics (PCA analysis), these nutrient status data were then related to the land cover data, which were obtained through the analysis of satellite imagery. Nutrient availability was lowest for mangroves in catchments with large natural vegetation cover and was elevated in catchments with increasing levels of anthropogenic influence. Furthermore, nutrient availability was significantly correlated with several forms of land use, including natural forest, rice paddies, cleared ground and urban areas. While all indicators supported these results, relationships were strongest for long‐term indicators. Information on the relationship between land use in the catchment area and mangrove nutrient status may be important for the effective management of this habitat, as well as adjacent marine systems. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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