Mangrove forests protect us from storms, suck up carbon from the atmosphere, provide a safe haven for endangered creatures and livelihoods for many millions of people. Around 70 species cover more than 150,000 km2 in 118 tropical and sub-tropical countries. As we celebrate the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on July 26, it’s a timely reminder that mangroves are one of our best allies in the fight against climate change - yet we are doing nowhere near enough to protect them.
“Mangroves have enormous capacity for absorbing and retaining carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - and that’s most critical in today’s climate crisis,” says Professor Benjamin Horton, Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore and co-author of a recent report on the threats to the world’s mangroves. “Projects and policies designed to use coastal ecosystems to reduce vulnerability can also achieve other societal, environmental, and economic goals.”