Mangrove Forests are the "Roots of the Sea"
Mangrove forests are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems in many regions of the world and research and studies are revealing the unique importance of these habitats to the planet. Mangroves literally live in two worlds at once, making up a transitional zone between land and sea, whilst connecting and supporting both. These unique rainforests by the sea thrive in intertidal zones of sheltered tropical shores, islands, and estuaries and are comprised of salt-tolerant tree and other plant species from a range of plant families. Mangroves have specially adapted aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves which enable them to occupy the saline wetlands where other plant life cannot survive.
Watch this video to see what a mangrove forest looks like CLICK HERE
Mangrove Forests are Endangered
Over half the worlds mangrove forests have been destroyed during the last 50 years estimated at 32 million hectares (app. 80 million acres). In 2007, less than 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of mangroves remain. The current rate of mangrove loss is approximately 1% per annum (according to the Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO), or roughly 150,000 hectares (370,050 acres) of mangrove wetlands lost each year. The need for better protection is alarming with The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warning that more than one in six mangrove species worldwide are in danger of extinction due to coastal developments, shrimp aquaculture, agricultural expansion and unsustainable tourism.
For more information about mangrove loss please CLICK HERE
CBEMR is actually Successful
CBEMR Information Sources CLICK HERE
Most of the current strategies and attempts to restore mangroves are failing as well as possibly harming the health of other coastal habitats. Many mass restoration attempts result in people planting trees in the wrong location as well as hand planting a single species of Rhizophora or red mangrove, forming monoculture plantations rather than truly restoring a natural vibrant and biodiverse mangrove wetland. In most cases, most seedlings die within a year of being planted and between 60-80% of mangroves planted on mudflats fail. The CBEMR approach on the other hand focuses on understanding the ecology and hydrology of the site and correcting the problems that caused the mangrove loss in the first place which ensures successful restoration.
Shrimp Farms are
Shrimp aquaculture has been the single biggest driver of mangrove destruction, particularly in Southeast Asia. This rapidly expanding industry poses one of the gravest threats to the world's remaining mangrove forests and the communities they support. Due to the awful conditions with high levels of disease and pollution, shrimp ponds have to be abandoned every 3-5 years. Now, with approximately 400,000 hectares of disused shrimp ponds available, the CBEMR method offers a successful process of mangrove rehabilitation due to extensive pre-project assessments of local ecology, hydrology and communities empowering them to be stewards of their environment, and enabling them to regain their livelihoods.
People Live with Mangrove Forests
Mangroves are one of the most productive ecosystems on the earth. They perform a variety of useful ecological, bio-physical, and socio-economic functions, and are the source of a multitude of benefits to coastal populations. For local communities, mangroves provide food, medicines, tannins, fuel wood, charcoal and construction materials. For millions of indigenous and local coastal residents, mangrove forests are vital for their everyday needs. Community engagement and empowerment is key to the CBEMR model and recognizes the importance of local participation and knowledge sharing to sustainable mangrove restoration. With better understanding and education, huge eco-tourism potentials surface that become beneficial for the local communities as well as visitors.
Watch this video to see the huge benefits mangrove forests provide to local communities CLICK HERE
Mangrove Forests support Immense Biodiversity
Mangroves systems are critically important habitats for a wide range of aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, molluscs and crabs, providing nursery, feeding and refuge areas and underpinning coastal food webs. Mangrove ecosystems are also important habitats for a wide range of birds and insect species, and lesser numbers of mammals and reptile species, providing nesting, feeding, and refuge areas. Many endangered and threatened mammals are found here including the Bengal Tiger, Dugong, Proboscis Monkey and Fishing Cat.
For a full list of endangered species associated with mangroves CLICK HERE
Mangrove Forests are Carbon Rich
Although mangrove forests line approximately only 8% of the world's coastlines, they have the ability to sequester far more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforest, and in some cases store 5x more than any of their terrestrial counterparts. This ability of mangroves to store such large amounts of carbon is, in part, due to the deep, organic rich soils in which they thrive. The sediments beneath these habitats are characterized by typically low oxygen conditions, slowing down the decay process and rates, resulting in much greater amounts of carbon accumulating in the soil. Thus, mangrove forests offer a unique and highly efficient and economical approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Read this article that explains why mangroves may give a greater return on investment than many other mitigation efforts - CLICK HERE
Mangrove Forests are Coastal Protectors
Coastal protection is an important function of mangrove forests, serving as a natural barrier against tropical storms, and tsunami, and therefore protecting coastal inhabitants. Recent experiences of tsunami and major storms in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world have shown that mangroves can and have played important roles in absorbing and weakening wave energy as well as preventing damage caused by debris movement. The entangled roots of mangrove forests help to stabilize coastal areas through sediment capture and bio-filtration of nutrients and some pollutants from the water, and reducing coastal erosion. The aerial roots of mangroves filter sediments and reduce pollutants from sewage and aquaculture in estuaries and coastal waters protecting coral reefs, sea grasses and other coastal habitats.
Mangrove Forests and CBEMR
Many people do not really know or fully understand how important these forests are and are not even aware of the many natural benefits they provide; benefits we all take for granted. We often try and replicate these benefits, but as with all things in nature, no man-made system can ever be more effective at doing its job or replace the thing that naturally evolved to do it. Mangroves 'do their job' extremely well providing they are left alone to get on with it (through protection and necessary conservation). We must act now to conserve & restore these incredible habitats by educating people about mangrove forests and sharing this effective approach to mangrove restoration.
Education is a huge part of what we do whether it's sharing knowledge on site with communities or inspiring the next generation of decision makers.
Your Support makes a
We at MAP are a small group of dedicated individuals with a huge passion for mangroves. Our goals and mission are ambitious and we actively partner with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, scientists and academics, and local governments in over 60 nations to ensure sustainable management of coastal resources.environment as well as many people's lives.
All the financial support we receive goes directly into our work, and your donations make a big impact on the coastal environment as well as many people's lives. But donating isn't the only way to support us!. Please get in touch and visit our website to find out other ways you can "Join us at the Edge of the Sea"
To learn more about what we're about please visit www.mangroveactionproject.org