Even as the world sees vast destruction of environment and forests, there is good news in between as a new study shows that rate of mangrove loss has come down and more of the mangroves are restored across their endemic lands despite external threats.
However, the study- The State of The World’s Mangroves 2021 – has called upon governments, international communities, researchers and private stakeholders to join together in the fight for protecting and restoring mangroves.
In the study, the Global Mangrove Alliance pointed out that the world’s mangroves store carbon equivalent to over 21 gigatons of CO2. The destruction of the mangrove ecosystems will release this carbon back into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change, the report said.
The GMA has advocated for the inclusion of mangroves into climate adaptation and mitigation plans. Using GMW maps, pilot work has shown that the full return of ‘highly restorable’ areas could restore or stabilize carbon equivalent to over 1.3 gigatons of C02 into the atmosphere—equivalent to over three years of emissions for a country such as Australia, or the avoided burning of 3 billion barrels of oil, the study said.
The Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wetlands International, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) formed the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) in 2018. The Alliance has over 25 member organizations who share the aim of scaling up the recovery of mangroves through equitable and effective expansion of both mangrove protection and the restoration of former mangrove areas.
CAUSES OF CHANGE
The study noted several causes for the destruction of Mangroves such as conversion to farmland, aquaculture urbanization, erosion, sea level rise and storms. However, the good news is that efforts to protect mangroves rose globally and around 42 per cent of all remaining mangroves exist in designated protected areas, the study noted.
Mangrove is formed by a variety of trees and shrubs that have numerous adaptations to live in the challenging — part marine, part terrestrial—environment of the intertidal zone. The mangrove forests are home to a rich fauna, including 341 internationally threatened species, ranging from tigers to seahorses.
As they are located near to the coast where sea meets land, they reduce flooding and act as natural defence from waves and wind.
CALL TO ACTION
- Ensure integration of mangrove conservation and restoration priorities into national-level laws, planning and policy processes—including coastal zone management, national adaptation plans, disaster risk response, and rural livelihoods and development.
- Ensure that initiatives consider sustainable use allowance, and work with local and Indigenous communities.
- Halting harmful subsidies and fostering tools and mechanisms to support funding and enabling of sustainable mangrove management and use initiatives.
- Include mangroves into reporting processes for global conventions—including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement—through the development of a consolidated set of indicators that measure progress towards targets.
- Work with conservation community and local stakeholders to invest in sustainable enterprises that value mangrove ecosystem services appropriately.
- Promote adoption of greengray approaches that integrate coastal ecosystems and mangroves into traditional infrastructure solutions to climate change.
- Enhance innovation with the development of new funds and approaches to ensure fair and equitable support for mangrove protection and restoration.
NGO AND OTHER PUBLIC INTEREST AND ADVOCACY GROUPS
- Catalyzing funding and supporting efforts to develop sustainable mangrove management. • Raising awareness, sharing, and promoting information about the value of mangroves.
ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH COMMUNITY
- Prioritizing the development of information and tools that will support policy implementation.
- Building on their current efforts by working collaboratively to improve temporal and spatial resolution of existing data and to address key knowledge gaps in all sectors, including social and economic sciences, restoration approaches, and ecosystem service benefits.
- New restoration projects be supported, which are science-based, tracked, and managed so that the full suite of services mangroves provide are delivered to people.
- Coastal development doesn’t come at the expense of traditional values and coastal heritage, but is built around sustaining critical coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests and supports equitable access and benefit sharing.