IUCN - Support grows for mangroves

Support grows for mangroves

11 January 2013 | Article

Mangrove forests are an important part of tropical and sub-tropical coastlines but they are under considerable threat and need more conservation action. The establishment of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Mangrove Specialist Group will bring together experts to share mangrove knowledge and develop conservation plans.

Thriving in saline conditions in which many species cannot survive, mangroves play a vital role in coastal areas by providing a nursery for fish and crustaceans; a home to a great variety of reptile, mammal and bird species; coastal protection from cyclones and tsunamis for human populations living in coastal areas and many more ecological benefits. There are 70 known species of mangroves and of these, 11 species are listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

“Mangrove protection is urgent given the continuing threats to the world’s remaining 14-15 million hectares of mangroves from aquaculture, land development, over-exploitation and lack of law enforcement,” says Jurgenne Primavera, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group. “The recently established IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group will develop a global conservation strategy for mangroves based on an assessment of research and conservation needs.”

The loss of mangroves can have serious consequences on the local economy and coastal environment but despite this mangrove forests continue to be lost at an alarming rate. It is estimated that since 1980 between 20-35% of global mangroves have been lost. One of the major reasons for the loss of mangroves has been their clearance to make way for the establishment of fish and shrimp ponds for aquaculture. In addition, poor enforcement of environmental laws designed to protect mangroves remains.

To support mangrove research and conservation projects, the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group is bringing together experts to share their knowledge. Hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the group aims to: assess the conservation status of mangroves; identify, quantify and prioritise threats; and develop plans to conserve the most threatened species and habitats.

For more information please contact:

Dr Jurgenne Primavera, Co-Chair IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group, e: georginehp@yahoo.com  
Professor Joe Lee, Co-Chair IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group, e: joe.lee@griffith.edu.au
David Curnick, IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group Secretariat, e: mangrovesg@zsl.org