Mangrove Management

Mangroves canopy

Mangroves are salt-tolerant evergreen tree- or shrub-dominated ecosystems that occur in intertidal environments at the land–sea interface along tropical and subtropical coastlines, shallow-water lagoons, estuaries, rivers and deltas. Mangroves cover an estimated 14.8 million hectares worldwide. Their structure, species composition and ecological characteristics vary widely, as do the ways in which they are used and otherwise valued by humans. 

Mangrove ecosystems provide an array of essential ecosystem goods and services, which contribute significantly to the livelihoods, well-being, and security of coastal communities. Mangroves are recognized as an important ecosystem in the context of national and global development and environmental objectives, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. Despite the numerous benefits they offer, mangrove forests are among the most threatened and vulnerable ecosystems worldwide. The common underestimation of their ecological and socio-economic benefits often leads to their conversion, overexploitation and degradation. Moreover, anthropogenic damages to mangrove ecosystems are being exacerbated by the impacts of climate change.

Mangroves serve as habitats, spawning grounds and nurseries for fish, crustaceans and molluscs, including those that provide an important source of income for coastal communities. Mangroves also provide habitats for birds and other wildlife, supporting biodiversity conservation. Fallen leaves and other detritus produced by and washed out of mangrove forests provide a food base for animals such as crabs, clams, oysters, other sorts of shellfish, and bony fish, which, together, feed millions of people. 

Mangrove ecosystem restoration and management module

The module provides guidance for people interested in mangrove ecosystem conservation, restoration and management. It takes a holistic view, balancing the roles of the wide variety of goods and services provided by mangrove forests.

Unlocking the secrets of mangroves

Discover surprising facts about this unique forest type, with a look at the innovative approaches used to uncover them.

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Biodiversity support

Mangroves are some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. They support everything from small organisms to large animals. They help to protect and conserve biodiversity by providing homes, breeding grounds, and food for many different types of animals.

Supporting fisheries

Mangroves contribute to marine food chains by providing a suitable environment for many fish species. Fisheries associated with mangroves have considerable value, with the most productive locations having values well in excess of $10,000 per hectare per year.

Nature-based tourism

Nature-based tourism has become increasingly popular and can provide a sustainable source of income for local communities living near mangroves. Activities in mangrove forests can include exploring them on boardwalks or by boat, observing local wildlife, kayaking, and more. These activities can be combined with homestays in nearby villages

Farming fish and seafood

Whether for open-water estuarine mariculture or pond culture for shrimps and other seafood, mangrove forests are great for aquaculture. Unfortunately many mangrove forests have been lost due to the expansion of aquaculture, primarily pond shrimp aquaculture.

Fighting climate change

Mangroves are excellent at storing carbon. Worldwide, they store more than 6.23 gigatonnes of carbon! This is important because it helps mitigate climate change. Many countries include mangroves in their plans to help reduce carbon emissions. Mangroves can also be part of programs where people pay to protect ecosystems and reduce carbon emissions.

Coastal protection

Mangroves play a critical role in protecting coastal communities from natural hazards like storms, erosion, and tsunamis. With extreme weather events becoming more intense and frequent, their importance is growing. They can reduce wave damage, storm surges, tsunami heights, and erosion.


Forest products

Mangrove wood is strong and long-lasting, yet as the number of large mangrove trees has decreased, the use of their timber has become less common. However, mangroves are still used for smaller construction projects and as fuelwood. Other products include tannins and dyes, medicine, thatching material, as well as alcohol and sugar from the sap of the nipa palm.