Ocean Insights

Protecting Mangroves: Coastal Guardians and Climate Heroes

Growing within the intertidal zone, mangroves belong to a family of salt-tolerant trees that form dense forests with the ability to combat climate change and protect vulnerable coastlines. You can find these shady shelters for marine life in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, forming powerful natural lines of defense against rising sea levels and giant storms. Their branches provide a safe haven for nesting birds and their thick, tangled roots shelter small crustaceans, mollusks, and even baby fish, providing a boost to local fisheries.

In addition to supporting ocean wildlife, mangrove forests have the remarkable power to absorb carbon as much as ten times faster than terrestrial forests. As they capture and store carbon, they also help absorb the impact of powerful storms and waves, keeping coastal communities safe from the full force of natural disasters like hurricanes. Without these irreplaceable ecosystems, shorelines would be exposed to erosion and our global climate would decline further, leaving us all literally and metaphorically in deep water. Unfortunately, challenges like logging, pollution, and runoff from aquaculture like shrimp farms have decimated mangrove populations worldwide.

As with most complex ecosystems, once a mangrove forest is lost, it is extremely difficult to replicate it or bring it back. The best we can do for these unsung climate heroes is preserve the forests we have and allow nature to rebound. SeaLegacy is committed to supporting the creation of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) where coastal habitats like mangroves can thrive. Together with our ocean conservation community, we can stop the destruction of mangroves and give our ocean the chance to flourish once more.

Join SeaLegacy’s ocean conservation community, The Tide, and help create marine protected areas where mangroves can thrive.