Sitting on the shoreline of over 100 countries in the world, are the sea-facing forests of many sub-tropical climates: the Mangrove Forests. These interesting and unique features of the natural world are some of the most beautiful places in the world, hiding some of the most important benefits to the shorelines and habitats around them. From the beautiful mangroves in Vietnam to those found in the states in the Florida Keys, you can find them all over the world, their survivability and tenacity as an organism is to be respected and protected. This is why the 26th of July is designated as International Mangrove Day!
The UN officially recognized this date in order to raise awareness about these unique ecosystems around the world – they are disappearing at an alarming rate – with over 50% of mangroves around the world being destroyed over the course of 40 years and at a rate much quicker than other forests around the world. Whilst there are definitely other worthy causes such as the rainforests conservation efforts, we must not neglect other important natural ecosystems. This is the reason for the occasion officially called International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem!
What is mangrove deforestation and how to protect these ecosystems around the world from the effects of climate change
The crisis may not be top of everyone’s agenda, but it’s up to everyone to help out and fight mangrove deforestation wherever they can – so why are they so important? These resilient forests grow along the shoreline, which is highly rich in salt. Now you don’t need me to tell you that salt is not exactly something that trees find particularly palatable, so they have developed many different systems of drawing oxygen from their environment in order to survive, and what they provide to their surroundings is highly invaluable. Other benefits of mangrove forests are easy to observe. Whilst providing a home, safe environment, and nursery to a great number many of fish, crustaceans, and other types of marine life in their roots. Not only this, but they act as a buffer from coastal erosion, storm surge, and tsunamis in the region, protecting not only the wildlife but people who live beyond these sea forests. In addition to this, they store carbon in the soil, which helps combat the effects of climate change.
One of the main challenges posed to the mangrove forests is shrimp farming, with the mangroves trapping many important nutrients and other organisms which help promote the shrimp’s growth. During this, nutrient-rich chemicals are discharged into the environment, which upsets the important natural balance of the ecosystem and in turn, destroying the mangroves. So with this being considered, you’ll probably want to know how to protect and conserve mangrove swamps. This comes in the form of mangrove reforestation – by replanting and supporting their growth to supplement the lost forests, and also by promoting more responsible shrimp farming – it is possible for these two to co-exist happily after all.
How to protect mangrove forests and the best countries to volunteer at amazing coastal destinations like vacations in El Salvador
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s plenty that glampers can do if they want to help during the International Mangrove Day. Of course, there are organizations out there that you are able to donate to that you can find that will responsibly allocate funds, but if you want to be more involved directly with the crucial question of how to protect mangrove forests, there are plenty of different schemes to pick from to help with replanting, restoration and more. As you can directly interact with the local population and help educate and train them to more effectively manage these precious ecosystems and combat the effects of climate change at the same time. You can do so with the Mangrove Action Project, using their multifaceted CBEMR approach in many countries around the world, including volunteering vacations in El Salvador, Tanzania, and many more!
Enjoy these coastal destinations and even visit the largest mangrove forest in the world during an eco tourism visit to the Florida Keys and more!
Another way to give back is to embark on your own eco tourism getaway! Visit the mangroves first hand and get inspired during your visit to these fantastic destinations whilst giving back to the local community. Visit the largest mangrove forest in the world in India! In the area of West Bengal, and also spilling into parts of Bangladesh is where you’ll find this huge natural wonder covering over 10,000 square kilometers. So pay a visit to the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest and get lost in this ancient wonder, thought to be around 1800 years old.
There are many others further east in Asia, with the Indochina Mangroves found across Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries in the region. These dense and thick mangroves invite magical scenery before your eyes and you can get lost during incredible boat journeys through here. When you visit the best mangrove forest Thailand can offer, you can be sure that you’ll be giving back. Sadly, deforestation in this area continues prevalently, so during your trip to this region, make sure to check it out whilst you can and try and raise the all-important awareness around this issue.
Afterward, make the visit to Latin America to see the amazing mangrove forests in Mexico! In what is described as the Mayan Corridor, you can enjoy the combination of ancient native architecture and the fascinating forests along the Caribbean Coast in Quintana Roo. To the north, you can visit Florida as mentioned, with the mangroves there near the Everglades for a domestic visit. So this year during International Mangrove Day, you can give back and help preserve these impressive and vital natural wonders.
Take a look at the Mangrove Action Project website for more information on how you can help and what is being done