Resilient coastlines for Asia



Since 2004, Wetlands International has, in partnerships with various donors, governments and local communities, restored and conserved a large area of mangrove forests in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Those actions are particularly conducted in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand in the region aftermath the 2004 Tsunami. Currently, we focus on convincing and enabling authorities at all levels, the private sector and civil society to safeguard these important coastal forests.



The Problem 


Around 40% of the world's mangrove forests are located in Asia. These forests have long been the source of livelihood and coastal protection for the people in the region. Read more on mangrove values


Mangrove ecosystems are however rapidly being lost along the coast of the region. The main drivers of this are aquaculture/shrimp farming, dynamite fishing, urban development, pollution and over-harvesting of wood in coastal forests. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami further exacerbated this condition and resulted in enormous loss of coastal areas and human lives (view the map).


Aims and Activities:


The awareness of the importance of mangroves in the region is increasing. Our work aims to contribute to the efforts and processes to achieve sustainable uses of mangroves. For this, we aim to bridge the gap between science, policy and practice. We collect science and practical knowledge and connect them to policy and practice. See the actions and some of our key publications on the right panel.



  •  An important element of our work on Mangroves is the promotion of a sustainable practice in shrimp farming through the 'silvofishery concept'. This concept combines the replanting of mangroves near and inside shrimp and fishponds. 



  • We work to integrate ecosystem management and restoration (including mangroves) in disaster risk work. Disasters can be mitigated if we make sure ecosystems are as strong as they can be. 


  • We strive for integration of mangroves into landscape level planning and sustainable production systems. For this we work closely with government agencies, private sector (including smallholders) and civil society.


  • We explore incentives schemes for mangrove restoration and conservation, including the 'bio-rights' approach and capturing carbon values in aquaculture production systems.


Action Partners: 


The Netherlands-based knowledge institute on water issues, Deltares: development of new approaches for coastal defense through restoration of mangroves and sediment dynamics.


Wageningen University: studies on the economic values of different land-use scenarios in (former) mangrove areas.


The global NGO The Nature Conservancy: literature reviews on mangrove services.


The Indonesian government service BPDAS-PB of the Ministry of Forestry: to coordinate the engagement of government agencies in data gathering, fieldwork and policy dialogues.


The Indonesian Government Centre for Marine Resource Survey: detailed mapping of mangrove status and distribution in Indonesia.


The Netherlands Red Cross


Red Cross Reed Crescent Climate Centre


Oxfam Novib




CARE Netherlands


We are amongst others supported by:


The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 


Watch & Read

Best Practice Guidelines on Restoration of Mangroves in Tsunami Affected Areas

The objective of this guideline is to provide the reader with an appropriate knowledge and understanding over the aspects of mangrove silvic... Read more

Storm Surge Reduction by Mangroves

Mangroves can reduce storm surge water levels by slowing the flow of water and reducing surface waves. Therefore mangroves can potentially p... Read more

Mangrove Guidebook for Southeast Asia

This book represents our first attempt to classify all mangrove species in Southeast Asia. It also aims to serve as a guidebook for those in... Read more

Reduction of Wind and Swell Waves by Mangroves

This report focuses on mangrove forests and the role they can play in reducing wind and swell waves. While mangrove forests are usually fou... Read more

Mangrove forests for coastal protection (video)

A film by Wetlands International in which we explain and demonstrate how conservation and restoration of wetlands can be a cost-effective st... Read more

The response of mangrove soil surface elevation to sea level rise

Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves can reduce risk to people and infrastructure from wave damage and flooding. The continued provision of ... Read more

View more publications on mangroves