Programa sobre los bosques y el agua

Forest-water nexus and mangroves (Este recurso solo está disponible en inglés).


Mangrove forests are unique ecosystems formed by trees or shrubs that grow in saltwater and live semi-submerged in the intertidal zone of the tropical or subtropical coasts, hosting a spectacular diversity of flora and fauna. They ensure food security for local communities, providing forest products and sustaining fisheries: 75 per cent of commercial fish species spend part of their lifecycle in these coastal wetlands.

Mangroves protect coastlines from erosion and extreme weather events, and contribute to water quality by filtering out nutrients and sediments. They are also vital for the fight against climate change - global mangrove forests sequester as much as 22.8 million tons of carbon each year.

Mangroves provide a suite of regulating, supporting, provisioning and cultural water-related ecosystem services from which humanity benefits. Supporting and regulating ecosystem services provided by mangroves include: (i) habitat for a wide range of organisms (ii) carbon sequestration (iii) climate regulation; (iv) shoreline stabilization and coastal protection, water filtration and pollution regulation.

Mangroves also provide a suite of provisioning ecosystem services, including: (i) fisheries production; (ii) aquaculture production; (iii) pharmaceutical, through the use of medicinal plants; (iv) production of timber and fuelwood and other wood products. Finally, mangroves provide cultural services that include: (i) recreation and tourism (ii) educational opportunities; (iii) aesthetic and cultural values.

The provision of these services is reduced or lost when mangrove habitat is degraded or transformed. Sustainable management and restoration of mangrove ecosystems is an achievable and cost-effective way to help ensure food security for many coastal communities and to ensure the provision of related water ecosystem services.