Mangroves Need Intent And Action

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Image: Irish Typepad / Flickr

Thanks to Anthropocene for this summary by Brandon Keim of new scientific findings showing that Good intentions alone won’t grow new mangroves:

Perhaps no single ecosystem is more emblematic of nature’s benefits to humans than mangrove forests. Lining tropical and subtropical coastlines worldwide, they’re nurseries for countless species and protect inland areas from hurricanes and storms. They’re an environmental feature beyond our wildest technical capacities.

In just the last half-century, though, more than half of all mangrove forests were lost to development. In response, people have tried to plant new forests—but as detailed in a new Restoration Ecology paper on the failure of restoration efforts in Sri Lanka, planting mangroves involves much more than putting seedlings in the ground.

“Restoration projects in Sri Lanka have generally not been successful in restoring mangroves despite the good intentions which fueled them,” write the researchers, who were led by botanist Sunanda Kodikara of Sri Lanka’s University of Ruhana and Nico Koedam, an ecologist at Vrije University Brussel…

…Their findings shouldn’t be used to discourage mangrove restoration efforts, write the researchers. It’s more important than ever—but it needs to be done right, with careful planning and attention to ecology and social factors, and in tandem with a scientific appraisal of progress. Good intentions alone are not enough.

Source: Kodikara et al. “Have mangrove restoration projects worked? An in-depth study in Sri Lanka.” Restoration Ecology. 2017.

Read the whole summary here.

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