© Antonio Busiello / WWF-US

Mangrove Optimism

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When conservation seems futile, look to mangroves for hope

A new Correspondence paper released in Current Biology Magazine gathers together evidence of the positive impact that 22 mangrove researchers have seen over the course of their conservation work. The wide author collaboration is, in part, a result of networking and sharing of ideas and information at the 2019 MMM5 (Mangrove, Macrobenthos, and Management) conference which was attended by several Global Mangrove Alliance members. We are proud that some of the authors represent our Alliance and maintain a hopeful attitude for a bright mangrove future.

Here are just a few of the reasons the authors give to be optimistic about mangroves:

“Globally, mangrove loss rates have reduced by an order of magnitude between the late 20th and early 21st century, from ~2% to <0.4% per year…[due to] improved monitoring and data access, changing industrial practices, expanded management and protection, inaccessibility of remaining intact mangrove forests, greater application of community-based management, increased focus on rehabilitation, and stronger recognition of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves.”

“It is clear that mangrove conservation has gained substantial momentum, with greater public and government awareness leading to increased investment and on-the-ground action.”

© WWF-Malaysia / Mazidi Abd Ghani

“…socio-political challenges are not insurmountable, and addressing them through robust policy engagement and stakeholder participation, while time-consuming, could unlock more than 800 000 hectares of land that are potentially suitable for rehabilitation.”

“Maintaining momentum in mangrove conservation and management can continue to reduce the rate of mangrove loss while potentially gaining new areas through rehabilitation.”

“Capitalizing on successes in one ecosystem and transferring this knowledge can help us limit broader environmental degradation, making mangroves an important and positive case study for the Conservation Optimism movement.”

The full correspondence is available here.