To mark UNESCO’s International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves on July 26, Environment Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey wrote for Express.co.uk on why it is time to celebrate the planet’s unsung heroes – the fast-vanishing mangrove forests essential for life on Earth. In this article Dr Coffey highlights our blue forests programme, funded by International Climate Finance, as a project helping to tackle mangrove loss.
Today is International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves and what better time to celebrate these unique and delicate ecosystems.
A mangrove is a forest habitat that straddles the coastline of many tropical countries including Madagascar and Indonesia which forms the boundary between where the land finishes and the ocean starts. The plants have adapted to live in salt water and nutrient-rich mud and instantly recognisable large root structures give mangroves some of their special features. These natural structures protect against tidal impact, prevent flooding, and provide shelter and nursery grounds to fish and many other types of marine life. This makes them productive fisheries providing livelihoods for communities, as well as homes for other types of wildlife including crocodiles and tigers.
It is estimated that more than two-thirds of historic mangroves have already been lost and threats from tourism development, urban pollution and oil spills threaten to destroy those yet protected in coming decades.
What are we doing to help? That is why in 2016 I approved, through International Climate Finance, the establishment of the ‘Blue Forests’ initiative run by the UK organisation, Blue Ventures. The aim of the project is to reduce deforestation of mangrove habitat, create new sustainable livelihoods, support community health and women’s empowerment and increase climate resilience in coastal communities. We expect the Blue Forests programme to protect around 20,000 hectares of mangrove forests, deliver around 13.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide savings and benefit over 100,000 people.
Read the full Express article here: Save the mangroves! Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey writes for Express.co.uk
Discover more about our integrated approach to community-led mangrove management