“In these endangered areas where the worst conditions for mangroves exist, you only have two options to preserve them. “Infrastructure and agribusiness will continue to be major drivers of deforestation, and wood consumption is only increasing year after year,” he said. Mangroves can survive such conditions while also serving as an incubator for shrimp and fish farms which can be destructive when not managed properly – which are key to the region’s aquaculture industry. We review the state of knowledge of mangrove vulnerability and responses to predicted climate change and consider adaptation options. “The most seaward mangroves have dense aerial roots, sticking out of the sediment surface, which are crucial to supply the mangrove tree with oxygen during the intertidal submersion times,” said Schwarz. You can either try to restore the sediment sources, for example, removing a dam upstream, or you need to make sure mangroves have enough space to transgress upland/landward with rising sea levels if you want to conserve these systems,” said Schwarz. Seymour, who authored the 2016 book “Why Forests? “The loss of mangrove species will have dramatic ecological and economic implications,” said Schwarz. Hundreds of thousands of acres of lush wetlands have been cleared to make room for artificial ponds that are densely stocked with shrimp. One relatively bright spot, at least in terms of mangrove protection, is Vietnam. Office of Communications & Marketing Appreciation of the financial contribution of mangroves … Christian Schwarz, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, is a part of the international research team together with Utrecht University and the University of Exeter which developed the computer model. Share these facts about mangroves and help make a difference. “The effects of Nargis were even worse thanks to the fact there wasn’t much mangrove already, and it destroyed the rest,” Nivollet added. Water. The implications of species-specific sediment capture on forest diversity was quite unexpected for us.”. It is now important for the two counties to work jointly on developing and applying professional transboundary mangrove management plans.”. THREATS TO MANGROVES. : The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change,” described the role of mangroves as a trifecta of human-nature interconnectedness. Since then, a third of that tree cover has been lost. Loss of trees ranged from 25% to 100% from shearing the trunks above ground, complete overwash of islands and prop root damage from marl and fine organic matter coating the roots. [HANOI] Rising sea levels linked to global warming threaten economically, ecologically and culturally important mangrove forests in Pacific island states. Threats for the future The source of the most serious threats to mangroves is increasing human population density. In developing countries, mangroves have proven critical for saving human lives by their dampening of the wave heights and wind speeds during coastal storms. According to UNESCO, within the Greater Mekong region, Myanmar contains the largest area of mangroves, covering 5,030 square kilometers (1,942 square miles), followed by Thailand with 2,484 square kilometers (959 square miles), Vietnam with 1,057 square kilometers (408 square miles), and Cambodia with 728 square kilometers (281 square miles). Vietnam’s mangroves are aided by the fact that the government has successfully provided a stable electricity supply to more than 99 percent of the country’s population, according to the World Bank. We don’t want to damage the people who are living on charcoal production.”. Mangroves, like the ones pictured here from the Magdalena delta, Colombia, have dense roots that allow them to trap mud more effectively. They are a natural coastal defence. Newark, DE 19716, A new study published in Environmental Research Letters, University of Delaware Newark, DE 19716 USA. Mangrove forests also act as a natural coastal protection, stabilizing the coastline and serving as one of the first lines of defense against storms for coastal communities. The sturdy root systems of mangrove trees help form a natural … He stresses this model was developed to investigate how the interaction between multiple mangrove species and different environmental conditions shape diversity and vulnerability under different sea level rise and sediment conditions.Â, Looking at interactions between assemblages of mangrove species that live in the lower, middle and upper intertidal area, as well as water and sedimentary interactions and how the coastal profile evolves over time, the researchers chose three specific species of mangroves for their study: Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemose. This decline has occurred over the last 50 years. Mangroves, highlighted in green above, stretch from eastern India to southwestern Bangladesh. In the 1970s it was the most densely forested area on Earth. “In recent years the biggest regional threats to mangroves are the ever-increasing development of the tourism industry, pollution from runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, and improper disposal of wastes. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay. “Some years ago we developed a system to grow mangroves in a sand-filled container with a semi-permeable membrane underneath which allows seawater to penetrate, but the sand does not fall out of the container,” he said. “So it would be possible for them [farmers] to grow mangroves, though they cannot be eaten, so that is another problem.”. While the trial in Qatar was a success, funding has not been secured to expand the technology to other mangrove regions. Major tourism developments have been proposed on its fringes, but as of now it provides a striking green contrast to the nearby urban sprawl on satellite images. Nargis was the deadliest natural disaster in Myanmar’s history, causing at least 138,000 deaths. Phone: 302-831-2792. The Greater Mekong, which includes Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, is key to this environmental vitality. However, this has pushed charcoal production across the border into Myanmar. This storm served to highlight the role mangroves play in protecting communities from storms. “Thailand used to lose a lot of mangrove due to wood cutting some decades ago. Such a scenario could come into play in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s most fertile rice- and fruit-growing region, parts of which are already feeling the impact of salinization as the sea inches upstream. And rapid urbanization continues to threaten them. This part of the country does not have a protected area. A multi-partner initiative to build a better knowledge-base, strengthen empowerment and enhance governance for coastal ecosystem management in the Greater Indian Ocean Region Rising sea levels and changing salinity pose the most serious threats to these ecosystems. “But mangrove forests, in particular, serve a variety of functions that are underappreciated and that are disproportionately important both to local communities and at the global scale.”. As well as direct impacts from human activity mangroves may also be under threat from global warming (Field, 1995) this is especially significant for mangroves, their intertidal location means they are likely to be one of the first habitats to be affected by a rise in sea level. “These roots allow them to catch most of the sediment, which can even lead to the landward mangrove portion being cut off from sediment supply and diversity loss. About the reporter: Michael Tatarski is Editor-in-Chief of the Saigoneer and a Vietnam-based freelance journalist. These three species represent the lower, middle and upper intertidal mangroves and thrive at different elevations.Â. Across the Greater Mekong, rapid economic growth has dramatically altered natural ecosystems, with forests, including mangroves, often bearing the brunt of industrialization and urbanization. Mangroves live in brackish or salt water, and Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, which have more than 8,400 kilometers (5,200 miles) of coastline, feature significant forests of these trees. Forest destruction and degradation due to household fuelwood collection is an issue globally, including in Myanmar. Poorer Myanmar and Cambodia, on the other hand, have not electrified all of their territory. Threats to mangrove … “The main reason approximately 32 million hectares [320,000 square kilometers, or 123,550 square miles] of mangroves globally have been brought down to 15 million hectares [150,000 square kilometers, or 57,900 square miles] is land use change,” Böer said. LARGE HURRICANES. But the mangroves are also increasingly threatened. But after years of ill-considered coastal development, we’re jeopardizing the very resources that enabled this growth. Various stakeholders, including governments and NGOs, have been working on the conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems for years, yet with mixed results. Pressures like population growth and sea level rise are pushing in on the Sundarbans’ forests from all sides. The primary threats to all mangrove species are habitat destruction and removal of mangrove areas for conversion to aquaculture, agriculture, urban and coastal development, and overexploitation. 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