Let's conserve mangrove ecosystems, a life source for humanity

Posted on 26 July 2022

Every July 26,  the “International Day for the defense of the mangrove ecosystem”, is celebrated. Mangroves are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems and  they offer multiple benefits to humanity. But at the same time one of the most affected. This is a date to remember their importance and discover more about them.

The mangrove is a type of wetland found in the coastal landscape. It is formed by dense vegetation where we can find floating, emerging or submerged plants, which means part of  its structure such as the trunk and roots, are located under water. This ecosystem houses a great variety of flora and fauna, and serves as a refuge for fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds, etc. Also, benefits fish production and provides food to human communities.

The mangrove is considered one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet. Their soils serve as carbon storage and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

As mentioned in the Master Plan of the Los Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary 2007-2011, our mangroves provide not only ecological benefits, but also economic and social benefits. The inhabitants who live in its surroundings, do activities in it, such as the extraction of molluscs (black shell, striped shell, lick shell, donkey's foot, among others) and crustaceans (crab and prawn). In addition, the presence of up to 148 species of birds has been identified.

In the world, this valuable ecosystem is endangered by pollution, climate change and mainly, for poor agricultural practices and intensive aquaculture. But also,  in addition to infrastructure such as dams that affect its proper functioning.

"Losing them also means the extinction of fundamental species to the economy of millions of families in coastal communities all over the world. Even more, its degradation means losing the natural barriers that prevent hurricanes, monsoons, floods and storms from reaching the mainland. That increases the vulnerability of coastal populations to climate change" mentioned Brenda Toledo, leader of the Freshwater Program.

From WWF we promote the care of these ecosystems full of valuable resources that are beneficial to humanity. Some recommendations that we can start to put into practice are: Sustainable tourism in mangrove ecosystems, respect the closures of species that inhabit these ecosystems, properly handle waste in coastal areas, among others.

Avoiding the degradation of mangroves is possible!