Science is Saving the Mangrove Forests

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Posted by Diane Banegas and Rich MacKenzie, Research and Development, USDA Forest Service in

Forestry

Nov 20, 2020

A mangrove forest in the nation of Palau. (USDA Forest Service photo)

Mangrove forests along the coastlines in the Asia-Pacific region provide building materials for traditional homes, shelter fish and wildlife, protect communities from tsunamis and typhoons, and store more carbon than any other forested ecosystem in the world. Despite all they do for humans and the planet, mangrove forests are threatened by over harvesting and rising sea levels.

“A lot of Pacific Rim countries are working hard to conserve and restore their mangrove forests, but rising sea levels—a consequence of the changing global climate—remain a problem,” said Richard MacKenzie, a USDA Forest Service aquatic ecologist who works at the agency’s Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hawaii.

They are eager to save their mangroves not only for the benefits they have long provided, but also because their tremendous capacity for storing carbon offsets greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

MacKenzie and other U.S. scientists began working with Micronesia 15 years ago to help the country better manage its forests. Since then, their work has expanded to Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the …

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