This article was originally published on The World Bank.
“In 2006, I was working in Aceh, Indonesia (with the Red Cross), a region devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Amongst other post-disaster recovery activities, we were working with 20 coastal communities, helping them with community-managed small grants and encouraging them to invest in disaster resilience within their communities.
To my delight, all 20 communities, independently, chose to invest in the restoration of their mangroves that had been completely or partially destroyed by the tsunami. To them, losing their mangroves was like losing their ancestors: Mangroves defended them, provided them with food and a livelihood, and made their coastline beautiful. The mangroves were their pride, and reclaiming the mangroves was of the highest priority for them as a community.
- as explained in this study. acting as wave and wind breakers,
- Mangroves can sequester up to 50 times more carbon in their soils by area than tropical forests.
- Mangroves are amongst the richest biodiverse ecosystems.
And yet, more than 35% of the world’s mangroves are already gone. The figure is as high as 50% in countries such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. In the Americas, mangroves are being cleared at a rate faster than tropical rainforests.
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