Mangroves are among the largest natural reservoirs of carbon in the tropics, but are highly threatened by habitat destruction and over-exploitation. Mangroves in the Chiapas-Oaxaca coastal region of Mexico are being restored by Pronatura (BirdLife in Mexico) and partners to ensure the effective storage of carbon, secure benefits for local communities, and improve the habitat for shorebirds such as Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla.
Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in tropical regions. They store 1,023 Mg carbon per hectare, compared to less than 400 Mg carbon per hectare in temperature forests (Donato et al. 2011). Despite their importance for climate change mitigation, deforestation poses a severe risk to the future functionality of mangroves, and the benefits they bring to humans (Duke et al. 2007).
Deforestation of mangroves equates to ~10% of emissions from global deforestation, despite only covering 0.7% of the area of tropical forests (Donato et al. 2011, van der Werf et al. 2009, Giri et al. 2011). In the past few decades, 35% of the planets mangroves have been deforested, with 38% of the Americas mangroves being lost over this period (Valiela et al. 2001).
Conservation of mangroves will not only help reduce global emissions through effective carbon storage, but will continue to support biodiversity (Nagelkerken et al. 2008) and a wide range of ecosystem services vital for the livelihoods of local communities, icluding supplying of water and food production (Costanza et al. 1997).
Mangroves in the Chiapas-Oaxaca coastal region of Mexico are being restored by Pronatura (BirdLife in Mexico) and partners to ensure the effective storage of carbon, secure benefits for local communities, and to improve the habitat for shorebirds such as Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla. Pronatura has been working with local communities on mangrove restoration for the past 15 years, with work covering 800 hectares in three areas Mar Muerto, La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve and Conquista Campesina. In Conquista Campesina, the project will teach communities to manage and monitor the mangroves, as well as restoring five additional hectares per year for the next three years.
This case study is taken from ‘The Messengers: What birds tell us about threats from climate change and solutions for nature and people’. To download the report in full click here.
Compiled: 2015 Copyright: 2015
BirdLife International (2015) Mangrove restoration in Mexico enhances carbon sequestration and benefits the community. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/03/2018