Mangrove Conservation: Cause for Optimism

More than a decade ago, academics warned that mangrove forests were being lost faster than almost any other ecosystem, including coral reefs and tropical rainforests. But things are looking better.

An international team of 22 researchers from 24 institutes led by Associate Professor Daniel Friess and Dr Erik Yando from NUS Geography have found that there is now cause for optimism, with the global loss rate of mangrove forests now less alarming than previously suggested. (Please refer to the Annex for the full list of contributing institutions).

After studying various earlier presented works, the team found that globally, mangrove loss rates have reduced by almost an order of magnitude between the late 20th and early 21st century — from what was previously estimated at one to three per cent per year, to about 0.3 to 0.6 per cent per year, thanks in large part to successful mangrove conservation efforts. This heightens conservation optimism amongst broader projections of environmental decline.

“The team deduced that the reduction in mangrove global loss rates has resulted from improved monitoring and data access, changing industrial practices, expanded management and protection, increased focus on rehabilitation, and stronger recognition of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves,” explained Assoc Prof Friess.

A commentary summarising the team’s findings was published in the scientific journal Current Biology on 24 February 2020. This international effort was the result of the Fifth International Mangrove Macrobenthos and Management conference (MMM5), the world’s largest mangrove conference which was held for the first time in Singapore last year.

Read the full story from the National University of Singapore.

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