Mangroves a first line of natural defense against adverse marine events and also, they important carbon sinks but they are left behind: the planet lost a third of all that existedscientists and environmentalists warned.
A 2021 analysis by the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA), an international alliance of environmental organizations, shows these coastal marine ecosystems—approximately 140,000 square kilometers in tropical and subtropical regions. protect against erosion, waves and sea level rise and reduce the risk of flooding.
According to GMA calculations prevent property damage exceeding 64,000 million euros per year about 15 million people
In addition, they can capture carbon at high rates, such that “one hectare of mangrove fixes a hundred times more carbon than another tropical forestRicardo Aguilar, director of exploration for Oceana Europe, explained.
Another of its advantages is that its roots work as follows. habitats for breeding mollusks, fish and crustaceansAbout a third of small-scale fisheries depend on its availability.
Octavio Aburto, a marine ecosystems research professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (USA), confirmed that many of these species “could not have survived without mangroves.”
Ecosystems in decline
Despite all its benefits, these ecosystems are in decline: GMA analysis identified mangrove losses of 10.8% – more than 15,000 square kilometers – between 1996 and 2016 alone, and concluded that 60% of these losses were due to the most widespread habitats in Southeast Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. . human impact through coastal development, aquaculture and deforestation.
According to the experts Efe consulted on the occasion of the meeting, International Mangrove Dayreferred to today One of the biggest threats to this marine ecosystem is the development of tourism.this means a loss of 3% of the world total.
Mexico, for example, lost nearly ten thousand hectares in 2020 “in areas like Nayarit or Quintana Roo,” said Miguel Rivas, director of Oceana Mexico’s Habitat campaign.
Again, Fish and shrimp farming is the first cause of direct losses with 47%.while coal and timber extraction, logging and palm plantations account for another 12%.
Aburto noted that the rate of deforestation has dropped over the past decade, but specimens continue to disappear despite “fragmented, not full forests, making their condition seem so urgent.”
extreme weather events
another problem”climate change and extreme weather events“, added Aguilar, because according to IPCC estimates, If sea level rises between 36 and 72 centimeters, it will lose 44% of coastal vegetation area by 2080..
The GMA estimates that “about 42% of all mangroves remain in protected natural areas”, but “unfortunately not all of them meet national conservation standards because they also ineffective management or lack of proper regulation”, added Rivas.
In addition to protection, “recovering lost ecosystemsWWF added Pilar Jacobo, an expert on mangroves in Mexico, so it is necessary to “encourage” “connecting public policy, coastal communities and local governments.” reduction strategies“.
Along these lines, the GMA, Target to increase mangrove area by 20% by 2030 and restore ecosystem services, fisheries, water quality, carbon sequestration, coastal protection, jobs and food security.