50% of the world’s mangroves have disappeared in the past 50 years!
And they are at risk of vanishing forever if we don't act.
What are Mangroves?
Mangroves are groups of trees and shrubs that can be found growing in coastal intertidal areas. There are 54 to 75 different species of true mangrove trees, all of which grow in areas with low oxygen soil and slow-moving water which bring and accumulates fine sediment. You won't find them anywhere but in tropical and subtropical waters because they won't survive in freezing temperatures.
They survive in salt water because their roots are able to filter out the salt! Many mangroves are able to filter out as much as 90% of the salt in the seawater they are submerged in, with some species of mangrove trees able to excrete the salt through glands in their leaves.
Once mangroves have been cut down they cannot simply be replanted. After the mangrove has been removed the coastline that they were protecting is then eroded away and the tides and currents will reshape the coastlines making it hard, in some cases impossible, for the mangroves to grow back.
Why Are Mangrove Forests Important?
First and foremost, mangroves are essential for stabilizing the coastlines and preventing coastal erosion. They protect the coasts from storms, currents and tidal erosion.
Mangroves offer a safe haven to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world! They provide a home for thousands of different species, including birds, sea turtles, crabs, shrimp, fish, manatees and even crab-eating monkeys, fishing cats, Royal Bengal tigers & monitor lizard!
The perfect space for nesting sharks, the cover provided by the intertwined roots beneath the water makes for a safer nesting environment.
They help in the battle against global warming as they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere! In fact, some studies have shown that mangrove forests actually have a bigger impact than other land based forests, with one hectare of mangroves found in the Indo-Pacific region holding 4 times more carbon than other tropical rainforests!
Locals livelihoods rely on the mangroves, as they provide a rich supply of crabs and fish for local fishermen to catch and sell for their key income.
How Can We Protect Mangroves Forests?
Unfortunately over the last 50 years around 50% of mangrove forests have disappeared, falling victim to oil spills, sea level rises, the timber industry, coastal developments and to make space for crab and shrimp fishing.
Here are some of the solutions that the World Wildlife Fund have come up with and started implementing to protect the world's mangrove forests:
To protect all remaining mangrove forests by placing them within forest reserves or protected areas. Some mangrove forests are already protected, for example the Matang Forest Reserve in Perak, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park in Selangor, the Bako National Park in Sarawak, the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary and Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sabah, but there are more that need this done.
Creating a balanced coastal land-use plans to ensure sustainable limits on logging and other harvesting activities of mangrove resources.
Ensuring protective mangrove buffers along rivers and coastlines to prevent future erosion.
Start to manage mangrove forests in the same way as fishing reserves to encourage sustainable and environmentally-sensitive commercial activities.
Raising awareness and educating the public and local communities to discourage indiscriminate clearing of mangrove forests.
Introducing a social forestry schemes. Forests that are already damaged can be re-planted and managed for small-scale village timber enterprises. Some species of mangrove trees, such as Rhizophora mucronata or R. apiculata are particularly ideal for mangrove plantations as they are both fast growing and lucrative.
We suggest checking out the incredible work that WWF is doing around the world to support and protect mangrove forests. Click here to read & learn more.
In August 2020 we donated 10% of profits to the amazing Mangrove Action Project who are working relentlessly to restore and protect mangrove forests. They are focused on viable, long-term, equitable solutions that are effective and create lasting change. Read more about their work here. Thanks to our customers amazing support we were able to donate over $270!
Enchanted Mangrove Necklace
Our Enchanted Mangrove Awareness Necklace made it's debut in September 2020 and was beloved by many of our customers. It is a beautiful representation of mangrove roots growing underwater. The natural wood symbolises the roots of the mangroves twisting through the salty seawater, which is represented through the ocean blue resin.