Stories

Mangrove Threats

by Nick Hammond on Jun 22, 2022

Mangrove Threats




Worldwide, there are 4 main threats to mangroves which include coastal development, shrimp aquaculture, charcoal farming, and natural disasters.

Today we're taking a closer look at each and learning what we can do about it

 

"Mangroves are magical forests where we discover nature’s secrets. They straddle the connection between land and sea and nature and humans. Mangrove forests nurture our estuaries and fuel our nature-based economies."

- Anne Birch / Marine Conservation Manager, TNC Florida

 

 

Coastal Development 

Coastal Development

Before the significance of mangroves was understood, large swaths of mangrove forests were deforested to make room for coastal developments. While some land clearance is necessary to live in coastal areas, there is a delicate balance between sustainable development and compromising the local environment.

Now that we have a better understanding of these keystone trees, sustainable development, habitat restoration, and public awareness have started to slow declines worldwide.

 

 

Shrimp

Shrimp Aquaculture

Unfortunately, shrimp farms thrive in mangrove swamps. This has resulted in clearing of mangrove trees for construction of shrimp ponds. According to the IUCN, some countries, like Vietnam, have lost half of their natural mangrove forests in recent decades to this industry.

Fortunately, shrimp farmers and ecologists are working together to create mangrove integrated shrimp farms that will mitigate loss of mangrove habitat.

 

 

Charcoal Farming

Charcoal Farming

Because of the density of its wood, mangroves make premium quality charcoal. In many areas where mangroves are abundant, local populations have turned to mangrove wood as a source of fuel for cooking.

In small amounts, charcoal harvesting has not made a devastating impact on mangroves, however large scale industrialization of wild mangrove charcoal has led to declines in some areas. Now that we better understand the importance of mangroves, harvesting of naturally occurring trees is now illegal in most countries.

 

 

Storms

Natural Disasters

One of the greatest threats to mangroves is actually naturally occuring. Storms, such as hurricanes, tsunamis and other natural disasters, can devastate mangrove ecosystems. This is one of the reasons we are dedicated to restoring mangroves in the Bahamas as hurricane Dorian destroyed 70% of their mangrove forests.
Mangroves are a coastal community's first defense against wind and storm surge, so quite literally, these trees save lives.



Through our Buy One, Plant One® initiative we're working to replant and restore mangrove ecosystems not just here in Florida but across the globe. Learn more about our planting efforts as we work to change the world, by heading over to Our Mission page.

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