GNF - Mangrove Forests - Pilot Project in Asia

Mangrove Forests – A Fascinating Eco-System


Mangrove forests consist of trees and shrubs from different plant families comprising approximately 70 species. They are able to store carbon dioxide and thus significantly contribute to climate protection. They offer a breathtaking species diversity. In the forests live reptiles, mammals as well as numerous birds. The dense root system is well adapted to the conditions of salty coastal water and brackish water near river mouths. Two thirds of all fish species living in the sea use the root system as breeding place or source of food because oysters, Balanidae, snails and small crabs are abundant. Additionally, mangroves are indispensable for the local population whose livelihood depends on fish, crabs and mussels as well as wood products. Intact mangrove forests protect against coastal erosion and reduce the impact of flood waves and Tsunamis.


Unfortunately, mangrove forests disappear quite unnoticed. During the past 100 years, half of all mangroves worldwide were irrevocably destroyed through deforestation. In Indonesia, India, Thailand, Philippines, and Sri Lanka already hundred thousands of hectares mangrove forest were cut down, mainly due to increased population density and commercial shrimp farming. Up to now over 1,4 million hectares mangrove forest were transformed to aquacultures. As after a few years the shrimps and fish ponds are strongly contaminated with chemicals and antibiotics, they are abandoned and built elsewhere. Reforestation of mangroves is almost impossible then.


Joint project helps to restore mangrove forests

For years, the Global Nature Fund has been cooperating with partner organisations in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. At the beginning of 2012, a cross-border project was launched implementing measures to protect and preserve mangrove forests in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. In March 2012, all project partners attended a co-ordination and training meeting in Krabi on the southern coast of Thailand. A key issue of the network is to rehabilitate destroyed mangrove forests and protect them permanently. In close cooperation with the local population, alternative sources of income shall be created to preserve the threatened mangrove eco-systems in the long term. In the course of the project, over 100 hectares mangrove forest will be reforested. The families living there shall be actively involved in environmental education activities, and thus sensitized on the value of forest protection. A planned species census in each of the countries involved will improve planning of further protective measures.


More information about the project "Mangrove Restoration in Asia".

 Tropical Kingfisher  (Halcyon smyrnensis) 
Photo: Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST)
 Mangrove plant with air rootsn
Photo: Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Thailand
 Mangroves also deliver materials for houses
Photo: Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Thailand
 Mangrove seedlings in a tree nursery
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