The meeting of land and sea is a hostile habitat, in which it is impossible for many plants and animals to survive, but the 70 species of mangrove trees and shrubs have overcome the obstacles.
They provide one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, home to a multitude of endemic and endangered species . Mangroves are also one of the most endangered habitats globally, second only to terrestrial rainforests.
Mangroves provide important ecosystem services that are essential for the health of wildlife and the coastal human populations. Mangroves' unusual protruding roots allow them to survive in oxygen-poor environments as well as providing protection against coastal erosion and storms.
Find out about mangrove ecosystem services
ZSL collaborated with Phillipine governmental organisations to set up a Community-based Rehabilitation Project in 2008, that will regenerate lost coastal mangrove forest. More mangrove forests will provide better livelihoods and protection for coastal communities. More on ZSL's Community-based Mangrove Rehabilitation Project
Hundreds of fish ponds are left abandoned, but if they are still under lease they cannot be rehabilitated. ZSL has been working get Fishpond Lease Agreements (FLAs) cancelled so that new healthy mangrove forests can be cultivated. Over 55 hectares are being converted. More about ZSL's FLA project
IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group
The recently established IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group (MSG, aims to support mangrove research and conservation projects by bringing together experts in the field to share their knowledge. Hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the group aims to; assess the conservation status of mangroves; identify, quantify and prioritise threats; and develop plans to conserve the most threatened species and habitats. More on the IUCN SSC MSG
Threats to Mangrove Forests
Global mangrove coverage fell by about 20% from 1980 to 2000, with the greatest reduction in Asia. Clearing has ocurred for reasons such as property development and waste dumping.Around 50% of mangrove loss, however, has been to fish ponds for commercial shrimp farming. More on threats to Mangroves
ZSL have been working on 2 eco-tourism parks in the Philippines. Projects include an 800m boardwalk for visitors to explore the mangrove swamps. Eco-parks will raise awareness of mangrove importance and provide income for local communities who manage them. More about ZSL's eco-parks in the Philippines
ZSL has established 4 greenbelt sites since 2009 by planting mangrove seedlings that will hopefully become successful adult forests. They need close monitoring and attention from local communities to flourish. Find out about ZSL's greenbelt sites