Despite covering just 0.1 percent of the planet's surface, mangrove forests are important components of the planet's ecosystem.
Today, July 26th, is the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. This commemorative day was initiated by UNESCO in 2015 to raise awareness of the importance of the mangrove ecosystem as a “unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem, as well as to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and use.
According to Conservation International, although mangrove forests cover only 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface, they store up to 10 times more carbon per hectare than terrestrial forests.
Mangroves support a rich biodiversity and serve as a natural coastal defence against storm surges, tsunamis, rising sea levels and erosion. In addition, juvenile and vulnerable marine animals like fish and crustaceans regard the mangrove environment as a nursery habitat where they find shelter and refuge.
Unfortunately, mangroves are being lost to us at an alarming rate, with current estimates citing a 50 percent loss in the past 40 years.