Mangrove forests are disappearing at an alarming rate worldwide. According to the World Resources Institute, an estimated 35% of the world's mangrove forests have been lost since the 1980s. This loss is due to a number of factors, including:
- Deforestation: Mangrove forests are often cleared for timber, agriculture, and urban development. This is the most significant threat to mangroves, and it is responsible for the majority of deforestation.
- Conversion to aquaculture: Mangrove forests are increasingly being converted to shrimp and fish farms. This is a lucrative industry, but it comes at a high cost for the environment. Shrimp and fish farms often pollute the water with chemicals and antibiotics, and they can disrupt the delicate balance of mangrove ecosystems.
- Infrastructure development: Mangrove forests are often destroyed to make way for roads, ports, and other infrastructure projects. This is a major concern in developing countries, where infrastructure development is often prioritized over environmental protection.
- Climate change: Climate change is also putting pressure on mangrove forests. Rising sea levels are threatening to inundate mangrove forests, and warmer temperatures are making them more susceptible to disease and pests.
What is a Mangrove?
Mangrove trees are incredible tropical plants that can thrive in loose, wet soils, saltwater, and being submerged by tides. With their remarkable ability to absorb extra oxygen and filter out salt, mangroves not only survive but thrive in conditions that would potentially be an issue for other trees.
The Importance of Mangroves
Mangrove forests are essential, they are home to many species, such as Horseshoe Crabs and Bengal tigers. Mangroves protect and nurture these species such as offering nesting and roosting sites for numerous bird species. Birds find refuge in the dense canopy and use mangrove areas as breeding grounds, contributing to regional bird populations.
As seen in the nature conservatory, it is shown they also improve water quality and reduce coastal erosion. They do this by reducing the height and of the wind, meaning the wind is less likely to cause any damage. This helps protect the land and communities as the mangroves act as a line of defence.
In a social value sense, mangroves have the ability to transform people's quality of life. Due to a mangrove forest being rich in biodiversity, mangrove forests will provide fishing grounds for local people. Helping to create additional income streams, including sustainable harvests from the mangrove forests.
Mangrove Reforestation in Kenya
At Carma, we work alongside our partners to plant our overseas trees. Currently, we are planting mangroves in Mteza Creek, Kenya.
By restoring mangrove estuaries, we bring back life below water. Biodiversity allows nature to be productive, supporting sustainable fishing which provides additional income streams to the community. The restored forests also help to stabilise coastlines which act as a vital line of defence to protect the land and communities.
Furthermore, our partners work closely with local communities to showcase the value of newly planted forests. Through education and involvement in monitoring and reporting, local communities develop a deep sense of ownership and pride over their trees, leading to effective long-term management.
Planting trees in those areas means trees can absorb carbon dioxide, helping to reduce climate change. This ensures reforestation efforts are not only effective for the environment but for the people of Kenya as well as ensuring long term survival for the mangrove forests.
Mangrove trees play a vital role in supporting the natural environment and human communities.
They provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Protecting shorelines: Mangrove trees form dense forests that act as a natural barrier against erosion and storm surges. Their roots bind the soil together, preventing it from being washed away by waves and currents. This protection is especially important in coastal areas that are vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels.
- Reducing pollution: Mangrove trees absorb and filter pollutants from seawater and air. They are particularly effective at removing nutrients and sediments that can cause eutrophication, a condition that can lead to algal blooms and fish kills.
- Providing habitat: Mangrove forests are home to a diverse array of plants and animals, including fish, shellfish, crabs, and birds. They provide a nursery for many marine species, and they are also an important source of food and shelter for many coastal communities.
- Reducing carbon dioxide: Mangrove trees are highly efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They store this carbon in their roots and trunks, helping to mitigate climate change.
- Supporting local economies: Mangrove forests are a valuable resource for local communities. They provide timber, firewood, and food, and they are also used for ecotourism and aquaculture.
How can you help?
If you are an individual looking to help and make a positive difference in the fight against climate change, then there are many ways you can help! Staying educated on the latest news on deforestation, and campaigning for reforestation is a great way to make an impact.
If you would like to maximise your impact however, Carma offers tree planting plans for individuals where you can plant 12 trees every month for as little as £4.50! How amazing is that! You will be planting mangroves and actively contributing to reforestation efforts in Kenya. You will also get your own dashboard so you can visualise, verify and observe your impact!
If you are a business looking for a way to help, there are many ways that you can help. From subscribing monthly to one of our impact plans where you can plant from 100 mangroves a month. Find a business plan here.
If you are an E-commerce or Shopify store you can plant trees with every sale, creating a positive impact on every purchase.
If you are unsure on how to help but want to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our climate experts will get back to you.