Mangroves for coastal resilience

Coastal belts of mangroves contribute to security by reducing the impacts of severe storms and cyclones. Mangroves also provide food and building materials, especially to poor people. This coastal ecosystem provides an essential habitat for a large number of animal species, in particular several commercially important fish species. We work towards reversing the rapid loss of mangrove forests and promoting a sustainable use of this invaluable ecosystem.

The problem

Many mangrove belts along the coasts of Latin America, Africa and Asia are severely degraded or have completely disappeared. Shrimp farms in Asia, in particular, have already cleared large tracts of mangroves and coral reefs along the coastal and marine environment. Urban development, pollution, over-harvesting of wood in the coastal forests and dynamite fishing are also taking their toll.
Mangrove forests have some very important values. They protect coastal zones against erosion and extreme weather. They provide key nursery areas for fish and homes to other animal species, including waterbirds and an abundance of sea life. They also provide the source of livelihood for millions of people living along the tropical coastal areas. Read more on mangroves

What we do

  • Mangrove restoration. We support local communities in West Africa (Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone), Asia (India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) and Latin America (Panama) in sustaining and restoring their mangrove forests. We use the 'bio-rights' microcredit scheme to enable the communities to conduct the work.
  • Research on coastal protection and livelihood values. Together with research institutes and other NGOs, we conduct large-scale research in Indonesia to generate facts on the importance of mangroves for coastal protection and for sustainable fish and shellfish aquaculture, and use this information to advocate for effective mangrove conservation.
  • Sustainable shrimp production. We advocate incentives to conserve and restore mangrove ecosystems through the silvofisheries approach. Currently, we work towards certification of sustainable shrimp farms in Indonesia.
  • Building with Nature. We work towards promoting ecosystem-based solutions for coastal defence. Rather than fighting natural processes through infrastructure, hybrid engineering combines nature and infrastructure in order to enhance the resilience of coastlines from the impacts of climate change while preserving other ecosystem functions.
  • Working with communities and government. We aim to improve the coastal resource management policies in key mangrove countries such as Indonesia. We demonstrate how fighting poverty and improving family income can go hand in hand with restoring degraded wetlands and provide policy advice to various levels of government.

Video: "Mangroves - guardians of the coast"

Made by Mangroves for the Future (see below)



Mangrove partnership

Wetlands International is partner of Mangroves for the Future (MFF), an international initiative to promote mangrove conservation and restoration. Click here for more information and to download the MFF newsletters

What we achieved