Read the Executive Summary

100 authors from around the world have come together in a remarkable synthesis, sharing cutting edge science and compelling stories. The narrative they tell, for the first time, is that we now have the knowledge to turn things around for these critical ecosystems. We know the problems, but we also know the solutions.The challenge is turning these solutions into actions, by swaying leaders at all levels of society to protect the mangroves still standing and restore what has been lost.

We aim to remedy conservation inefficiency and missed opportunities through adopting various thematic work areas, such as promoting conservation and restoration of mangroves for climate mitigation and adaptation, enhancing food security and human well-being, and sustaining biodiversity.

Behind our cautious optimism is a remarkable surge of science. We now have highly detailed and up-to-date maps that document the location and changing extent of mangroves and policy, too, is advancing at a tremendous rate.

Sharing information, data and lessons is at the heart of the Global Mangrove Alliance thinking and philosophy. The Global Mangrove Watch platform is key to this, and aims to provide a one-stop shop for information on mangrove  values, status and threats.

Since 2000, over 60% of mangrove losses were due primarily to direct and indirect human impacts mostly occurring in Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Naturally driven events such as erosion, sea level rise, hurricanes and drought—exacerbated by climate change—are also leading to loss.

There were 136,000 km2 of mangroves world-wide in 2016, with new global estimates releasing soon. The declining rates of loss should provide hope—mangroves are often opportunistic, and expansion can occur relatively fast. Recent gains are likely mostly due to natural propagation with restoration projects providing additional help.

Over the last 20 years, mangrove forests have shifted from being one of the fastest-diminishing habitats on Earth to being one of the best protected. Over 6,600 km2 are still highly restorable but will requires long-term funding to communities. We are collaborating across the mangrove community to develop tools that maximize restoration success.

It is essential to ensure that decisions about the use of—and access to—mangroves are made fairly and equitably when empowering communities. Taking into account the needs of those already using and dependent upon mangroves, in many cases indigenous people and women, is key to long-term success.

Alongside credible, robust, and transparent data, sharing of examples of the practicalities and potential of different management interventions is further strengthening the hand of policy-makers. A key to success is policies that work with local Indigenous peoples, coastal communities, and small-scale fishers.

Many benefits of conserving and restoring mangroves can be further underpinned by strong financial arguments of the economic gains mangroves provide. But to meet the global conservation funding gap, it is estimated that $11.1 billion will be necessary over the next twenty years to restore mangroves world-wide.

Given the critical importance of mangroves for the maintenance of both a healthy planet and a healthy ocean, I encourage governments, corporations, cities and people around the world to support the objectives and efforts of the Global Mangrove Alliance. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to include the protection and restoration of mangrove forests in our action plans for a blue-green recovery.

Ambassador Peter Thomson
UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean

The State of the World’s Mangroves report lays a clear message for world leaders convening on climate and biodiversity. Mangroves are a great asset but if we fail to properly value and protect them, we’ll lose more than any financial investment that’s been made in mangroves to date. This is our last best chance to create positive, lasting change

Mark Spalding
Lead Marine Scientist for The Nature Conservancy

Conserving and restoring mangroves at scale depends on collaboration, and innovative partnerships like this one are critical to meeting the global challenge. By directly linking the needs and the experiences of local and indigenous peoples with cutting-edge science, together we can help drive the most forward-thinking national and international policies.

Karen Douthwaite
Lead Specialist, Oceans for WWF

This publication has raised the voices of coastal communities, who often have the most to lose from mangrove loss but also have the most to contribute towards long term mangrove management and restoration. By working with communities, we can safeguard and restore the world’s mangroves and improved the livelihoods of coastal people

Leah Glass
Technical Advisor for Mangroves and Blue Carbon for Blue Ventures

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