Mangroves – the habitat of hope.
Mangrove ecosystems are found in the coastal areas of most tropical countries. It is also one of the most important in the Pacific. In recent years conservation organisations have been able to raise the profile of mangroves for people to stop considering them as just swamps. But much more needs to be done.
The ecosystem system services of mangroves may not yet be well appreciated despite the growing volume of research that supports this.
Mangroves have the capacity to sequester large volumes of carbon, especially in the sediment,and to mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters.
Many Pacific communities now appreciate the link between mangroves and the above ecosystem services. For this reason they In Naboutini, Vunaniu, Korotogo, Namena and Saioko, villages in Fiji, the villagers are replanting and rehabilitating mangroves.
There are five main threats to mangroves cited in the Pacific:
- Land conversion. This would include anything from Coastal development especially for tourism or aquaculture purposes, land reclamation or through dredging
- Waste. This includes dumping, pesticide runoff, sewerage, animal and industrial waste from land and oil spills from either land or sea.
- Over-exploitation of the natural resource. This includes logging for building, collection of firewood, over-fishing and crabbing and over harvesting of other natural products.
- Climate Change. This would include sea-level rise and severe storm surges and as a result, coastal erosion and long-shore drift.
- Invasive species. Whether these are land or marine species these would threaten the indigenous fauna and flora of this habitat.
The Pacific Green Business Centre supports the involvement of the private sector in the protection and sustainable management of mangroves focusing mainly on:
- Advocating and educating on the importance of mangrove habitats and their conservation;
- Supporting activities that expand mangrove areas in the Pacific islands;
- Supporting livelihood activities that utilise mangrove habitats sustainably; and
- Supporting policy that prioritises mangrove conservation in coastal development.