Photostory: Why mangroves
matter for climate change
Photo credits: Muzaffar Bakhari, Claire a Taiwan, Kate Evans/CIFOR, capetribber, Neil Palmer/CIAT, Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR,
Daniel Peckham, Loic Le Dren, Phil's 1stPix.
Mangrove forests grow in tropical and subtropical tidal zones in more than 110 countries.
Sixty percent of mangrove forests are concentrated in just 10 countries, with the largest areas
in Indonesia and Brazil.
Mangroves and other coastal ecosystems provide ecosystem services that are
critical for the health of the planet and for the people who live near them.
They protect coastlines from high waves and storm surges.
They provide communities that live nearby with food, fuel, fresh water and fibers.
They provide a habitat for marine life and harbor rich biological diversity.
They hold aesthetic, cultural and recreational values.
Hutchison et al.
The carbon stocks in mangroves are among
the highest of any ecosystem on Earth.
Mangrove forests store four times as much
carbon as upland rainforests. The carbon in
wetland ecosystems, such as mangroves, has
been dubbed “blue carbon”.
Donato et al., (2011) Nature
Mangrove forests are being cleared and converted to other land uses at an average annual
rate of about 1% — higher than that of any other type of tropical forest.
In the past half century, the area of mangrove forests has shrunk by 30–50%, with
aquaculture and developments the main causes. Now, on average, 1–7% of blue
carbon sinks are being lost every year.
Thanks to research during recent years, it is now possible to measure, monitor and report
the carbon stocks and emissions from mangrove forests. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change has adopted new guidelines for making these measurements.
With their high carbon stocks, high rate of deforestation and provision of critical
ecosystem services, mangroves should be a central element in strategies for
climate change mitigation and for adapting to the impacts of climate change.
For more information visit www.ForestsClimateChange.org