Mangroves for Community and Climate


Mangrove forests provide a wealth of benefits for people and nature. WWF is working to protect, restore, and conserve some of the world’s most threatened mangrove habitat.

As part of the Bezos Earth Fund, WWF’s Mangroves for Community and Climate Project is a five-year effort working with communities, governments, and other partners to protect, restore, and strengthen the management of 2.47 million acres of mangroves across Mexico, Madagascar, Fiji, and Colombia—7% of the world’s mangrove forest. This work will secure an estimated 2 billion tons of carbon and help protect 300,000 people from tropical storms and coastal erosion while supporting sources of income for families that live along these saltwater forests and depend on mangrove ecosystems for their livelihoods.


Mangroves provide critical habitat covering tropical coasts in more than 100 countries.

Nursery for fish, crabs, and other marine wildlife
Filter for sediments, protecting coral reefs
Habitat for birds, bees, snakes, and other terrestrial fauna


Mangrove forests shield communities from extreme weather events and provide livelihoods.

Protect lives and property from storm surge and flooding
Prevent erosion and stabilize coasts
Support local fisheries, tourism, traditional medicine, and crafts

Mangroves store 7.5–10 times more carbon per acre (3–4 times more per hectare) than tropical forests, and their loss contributes to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

Over 21 gigatons of carbon are held by mangroves worldwide, and 87% of that is in the soil beneath the mangroves’ roots.

Restoring recently lost mangrove forests (1.6 million acres) could capture an additional 1 gigaton of carbon.

Protecting mangroves around the globe

The need to protect and restore the world’s mangroves has never been greater. WWF is working not only in Mexico, but also in sites around the world, including in Colombia, Madagascar, and Fiji.
Prow view of canoe paddling through mangroves

Why It Matters


    Fifty percent of the world’s mangroves have been wiped out in the last half-century, and human activity has been a driver of damage. If we don’t act now, we could lose the remaining mangrove cover in just 100 years.

  • Providing Sustainable Solutions

    Mangroves provide some of the most cost-effective and sustainable solutions to the many challenges we face. The rich diversity of species that live in these ecosystems provide an important foundation for local livelihoods, food security, and human health. 

  • Fighting the Climate Crisis

    Restoring and protecting mangroves is an important tool in addressing climate change. These coastal trees are extremely valuable in the fight against climate change: the carbon stored in mangrove ecosystems is estimated to be up to four times greater than that stored by other tropical forests. Mangrove loss contributes an estimated 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation. Yet mangroves, like all of nature, are threatened by rapid changes in climate and weather. WWF is developing new conservation planning tools to help ensure mangroves are able to thrive as the climate continues to change.

  • Supporting Livelihoods

    Around the world, people depend on mangrove ecosystems for coastal protection, food security, and livelihoods. The submerged forests are rich with crabs, shellfish, shrimp, and fish and the canopy supports fruit and honey-producing bees. These all provide opportunities for food and income to people living near mangrove forests. Tourism is another draw, bringing nature-oriented birdwatchers, kayakers, and snorkelers to enrich local economies.

What WWF Is Doing

WWF is expanding its mangrove work in four countries—Colombia, Madagascar, Fiji, and Mexico—where governments and civil society have conditions in place to increase and strengthen mangrove protection and management, strengthen community resilience, and secure sustainable sources of finance for long-term protection.

Countries under enhanced protection

1.4 billion tons
(1.3 billion mt)
of carbon secured
215 million tons
(195 million mt)
of carbon secured
226 million tons
(205 million mt)
of carbon secured
44 million tons
(40 million mt)
of carbon secured

In these regions, communities and Indigenous groups, as well as local and national governments, have the mechanisms in place to increase and strengthen climate-smart mangrove protection and management, and improve the resilience of communities and livelihoods.

We will continuously monitor, evaluate, and learn from the impacts of these approaches on both people and nature. By protecting and restoring mangroves, we not only capture and secure carbon, but also harness the immense potential of these coastal forests to provide for the security and safety of communities impacted by climate change.

Mangrove Protection and Restoration

Our science and policy experts work with national governments, local communities, and other partners to strengthen the management of, and establish new, community-managed areas and marine protected areas to preserve standing forest that is already a rich provider of benefits. At a national level, we also support the development and implementation of national mangrove protection laws and climate-smart management plans that can feed into global climate and biodiversity commitments.

While improving management, our experts also work to restore degraded mangroves and keep existing mangroves healthy. We do this by carrying out climate-smart natural regeneration and targeted planting with science-based strategies to successfully restore degraded mangrove forests. In addition, we measure the social and ecological impacts of the work and monitor changes in climate to inform planning and adaptive management.

Community Resilience

Building community resilience to climate change is vital as the natural world changes around us and impacts millions of people that live along coasts. WWF works with communities to design and implement solutions that strengthen social-ecological resilience, reduce disaster risk, increase economic opportunities, and improve health and food and water security.

Some of these solutions include updating disaster management plans for drought and sea level rise and installing early warning systems ahead of potential tropical storms. Diversifying livelihoods—like shallow water shrimp and fish production in Colombia, planting drought-resistant crops, and beekeeping in Madagascar—is also an important solution that helps improved food, water, and income security in a changing climate.

Sustainable Finance

WWF is exploring a range of sustainable financing strategies to support this project as sources of sustainable finance are critical to ensure that mangrove forests stay standing and are sustainably managed long into the future. To achieve this, we are exploring incentive schemes and insurance products, as well as the potential for large-scale capital-raising efforts, such as a Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). We have already completed financial gap analyses and feasibility studies at country and global levels and integrated the findings into our work on ecosystem assessment and local community engagement.

It is also vital to ensure that local communities, whose livelihoods and food security are in many cases dependent on these ecosystems remaining intact, have adequate access to finance that will help them gain stable and adequate incomes while also being stewards of their resources. Therefore, community enterprise financing mechanisms are a high priority in each of our target geographies. Examples of sustainable mangrove livelihoods that we are seeking to scale up include beekeeping and honey-making, as well as eco-tourism.