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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Mangroves: Protecting our Coasts and Sheltering the Local Inhabitants

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Did you know that Earth is home to a special type of tree known as the Mangrove? Mangroves play an important role in their natural surroundings by protecting the health and welfare of various types of animal-people and coastal communities worldwide. Apart from helping to enrich and protect ecosystems, mangroves are also known for aiding in the quest to combat climate change. Without mangroves, coastal regions could rapidly erode away, and several unique species could be lost forever.

Dr. Carlos Duarte emphasizes the importance of conserving mangrove forests: “Mangroves are definitely one of the ways to achieve our carbon mitigation goals, not simply because they sequester carbon, but also because they offer huge benefits for coastal protection and many other advantages. This education must continue, both at policymaker and public levels, to boost engagement and uptake of mangrove projects.”

Mangroves offer protection against storm surges and sea level rise, shielding communities living near the shore. Scientists from the University of California studied the potential risk of floods along more than 700,000 kilometers (435,000 miles) of subtropical shoreline around the world. According to their research, which involved 59 countries, it was estimated that mangroves can “reduce risk to more than 15 million people and prevent more than US$65 billion in property damages every year.”

In many places, efforts are being made to preserve and restore mangrove forests. A massive mangrove restoration program was launched in Senegal. Years later, in 2019, it was reported that a total of 79 million mangrove trees had already been planted. In 2022, the largest mangrove reforestation project in Africa was launched. The project will be implemented in the biodiversity-sensitive provinces of Sofala and Zambezia, where about 50 to 100 million trees will be planted. The project is expected to offset approximately 200,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

Another noteworthy organization that’s inspiring community-based mangrove restoration efforts is the Marine Ecosystem Diaries Project. The Project’s activities help to reinforce the message of the important role mangrove ecosystems play in combating climate change, and in protecting the well-being of both people and regional ecosystems.
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