This World Wildlife Day, Cool Earth is championing mangroves: rich havens for biodiversity, and crucial in the fight against climate change.
Life in the seas and life in the rainforests is intrinsically linked. The health of the world’s rainforests directly affects the health of the oceans and seas. Deforestation causes pollution runoff that decimates marine life. And increasing forest fires contribute to icebergs melting and sea levels rising.
Mangroves bridge the gap between forest and sea. With their roots in salty water, and their crowns mingling with the canopy, mangroves are seriously tough trees that grow in the challenging conditions of intertidal zones.
With their dense tangle of roots that make the trees appear to be floating above the water, mangroves are found in tropical areas where seas and air temperature are warm year round. Growing in low oxygen soils, these shrubs and trees line rivers and coasts where they thrive despite tidal variations, salinity and sediment buildup.
Mangroves teem with wildlife. They act as nurseries for juvenile fish, providing food for local communities and larger predators. They act as a fantastic natural filter for pollutants and excess sediment, preventing harmful chemicals from damaging coral reefs and other sealife. Add to this the fact that they defend the coast against storms and rising seas, and you can see why mangroves may be a forest community’s greatest asset.
But mangroves aren’t simply clever coastline buffers and fertile fishing grounds. They are our air bags in the approaching climate crash.
Mangroves contain 40 times more carbon than a similarly sized area of rainforest1. Representing just 0.6% of all the world’s tropical forests, the destruction of mangroves accounts for as much as 12% of greenhouse gas emissions from all tropical deforestation2. Between 2000 and 2015 up to 122 million tonnes of carbon dioxide was released due to mangrove forest loss, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of Brazil.
Dense mangrove forests line the shores of Milne Bay, one of Cool Earth’s key partnerships in Papua New Guinea. Thanks to our supporters the local communities are protecting their mangroves, keeping the precious carbon locked in. It’s not just good for us: as well as storing carbon the mangroves protect the coastal villages and forest from storm damage, an increasing threat with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.
This World Wild Life Day friendly games will be hosted in Sololo, a village in Cool Earth’s Papua New Guinea partnership. Project manager Gellie hopes to invite nearby ward to participate too, “We hope this activity is also to show support to the youths in their activities and also educate them on forest conservation because they will be the next leaders in these communities.”
From tropical rainforest to the forest of corals, and the mangrove nurseries in between, Cool Earth is protecting some of the most biologically diverse, and beautiful, ecosystems on the planet. Thanks to you the mangroves of Milne Bay are safe.