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The Importance of Mangroves to People

A Call to Action

image of The Importance of Mangroves to People

This publication provides a timely synthesis of the importance of mangroves to people. It highlights that in spite of the mounting evidence in support of the multitude of benefits derived from mangroves, they remain one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, being lost at a rate greater than coral reefs and tropical rain forests. This has potentially devastating effects to mangrove biodiversity and in turn, the food security, protection and livelihoods of some of the most marginalized coastal communities in developing countries, where more than 90 percent of the world’s mangroves are found.

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Executive summary

Mangroves are a type of tropical forest, uniquely positioned at the dynamic interface of land and sea. They are found along coasts and estuaries throughout the tropics and subtropics and are capable of thriving in salt water; prospering in conditions to which only a few species have adapted. Mangroves form the foundation of a highly productive and biologically rich ecosystem which provides a home and feeding ground for a wide range of species, many of which are endangered. Although mangroves make up less than one percent of all tropical forests worldwide, they are highly valuable ecosystems, providing an array of essential goods and services which contribute significantly to the livelihoods, well-being and security of coastal communities.

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