Mangrove forests are some of the world’s most valuable coastal ecosystems—and they’re being destroyed at an alarming rate.
WWF has been working around the world on mangrove conservation and restoration efforts for decades, from coastal mangrove conservation in the Galapagos Islands and Indonesia to mangrove restoration efforts in Pakistan. Now it’s time to go big and improve the lives of millions.
In 2016, we teamed up with Conservation International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and The Nature Conservancy to form the Global Mangrove Alliance. It’s an initiative to reverse the loss of critically important mangrove habitats worldwide. The target is ambitious: to expand the global extent of mangrove habitat 20% by the year 2030.
The alliance is guided by the concept of collaboration, and calls for members to come together with funders, experts, and local communities to conserve and restore mangroves at a scale much greater than any group could accomplish individually.
Mangroves mean life for millions
Serving as the transition between marine and terrestrial environments, mangrove forests support a vast diversity of life, provide protection from dangerous storms and tsunamis, sustain coastal livelihoods, and store carbon.
“Mangroves are a powerful tool that nature has provided us, but we’re not doing enough, fast enough, to protect them,” said Lauren Spurrier, managing director of oceans for WWF.
As coastal populations across the globe continue to expand and climate change increasingly threatens the viability of these communities, the protection and resiliency that mangroves offer becomes even more important. But they’re disappearing.
In recent decades deforestation for aquaculture, agriculture, and coastal development has wiped out large swaths of forest. We’ve lost 50% of the world’s mangroves just in the past half century, and if current trends continue, the remaining mangroves could be gone within the next 100 years.
What’s next for the alliance
In addition to expanding mangrove habitat 20% by 2030, the Global Mangrove Alliance will also aim to catalyze $10 billion in investments to help improve the resilience of coastal communities and improve the wellbeing of an additional 10 million people through restoration and conservation projects.
In working toward these goals, the alliance seeks to deliver on several other important objectives, including increasing the resilience of coastal communities to climate change impacts, mitigating climate change through protection and restoration of mangroves, sustaining biodiversity, and improving food security and the wellbeing of those living in coastal communities.
“It will take concerted action by many players to reverse declines and bring back what we’ve lost,” Spurrier said. “There is no time to duplicate efforts and waste resources. Bringing this work together through an alliance, allows us to focus our organizations in areas where we know we can have maximum impact.”
For more information on the Global Mangrove Alliance, its activities, and how to become involved, visit www.mangrovealliance.org.