Mangroves disappearing faster than land-based forests

| 16/07/2010

(CNN): The destruction of the world’s mangrove forestsis happening up to four times faster than the world’s land-based forests, according to a new report. A study commissioned by the ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization) reports that one fifth (around 35,500 square kilometers) of the world’s mangroves — forests straddling both land and sea — have been lost since 1980. Although the study reports that annual destruction has slowed to 0.7 percent a year, the authors of the "World Atlas of Mangroves" report warn that continued coastal destruction and shrimp farming could cause financial and ecologic havoc. Studies estimate mangroves generate between US$2000 to $9000 per hectare annually from fishing. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

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CNS note: The report was a joint initiative of ITTO (funding agency), ISME (International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, the implementing agency), FAO, UNEP-WCMC, UNESCO-MAB, UNU-INWEH, and TNC. The authors are Mark Spalding (lead author), Mami Kainuma and Lorna Collins with map preparation lead by FAO and UNEP-WCMC. The project received majority funding from ITTO through a Japanese Government grant.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I distinctly recall the press coverage of the process when the Dragon Bay developer was applying for a planning permit for that project and the futility I felt when reading with digust how the Central Planning Authority bought that developer’s feeble assurances that he would be planting back the mangrove fringe. It was so obvious that he didn’t even have to give such flimsy assurances because per successive Government policy, the CPA will always issue approval to such projects. Why? Simply for the fees.

    While the CPA will give me hassle for placing a little sandwich board sign on the sidewalk or through its enforcement arm, make me remove an advertising sign I erected without realizing that I needed to go through the costly and tedious red-tape, they will ALWAYS approve such developments even if there was no assurance of re-planting the mangrove. Take a look at this area from the sea or air and see how little natural mangrove is left. Who is the developer kidding about replanting mangrove? And even if he does, will it reach the level of maturity so as to offer protection in under a generation? Certainly not.

    But as long as ourcoffers depend on fees for revenues, we will continue to sell our island, piece by piece. But hey, don’t blame the developers, blame the system which facilitates their greed by its own greed and dependency.  

    Diversification of our revenue base could be one way out of that dependency and hopefully with alternative sources, developers of such projects would be sent back to their drawing boards to come up with more environtally sound proposals. National lottery anyone? 

  2. whodatis says:

    This post really ought to have more comments.

    Cayman baffles me at times.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And just think; we lost 90% of our Mangrove Buffer in the South Sound thru no fault of man.

    Ivan destroyed more mangrove in the South Sound area in 12 hours than we did in our previous 50 years (which would include the dredging/reclamation to create the South Sound).

    We need to be more sensible about the balance between protecting the enviroment (we are not God and cannot save the World and not even our own little one-Ivan showed us that) and using common sense to build protection.

    When the docks in the South Sound, built of timber so that we can be more environmentally freindly were ripped away and pushed around, destroyed more vegetation including mangrove and did more damage than we could ever have done by building sensible solid concrete docks that might have protected some mangrove when the mangrove fell into the "lee" of the docks instead of the docks sweeping them away.

    That is, while we continue to build timber docks, each time a hurricane comes, the mangrove which may be able to handle the wind and water driven by wind but cannot withstand TIMBER driven by water, will be destroyed. Of course, we can simply stop building docks… see what I mean about being sensible?




    • Pending says:

      I think you will find that the 5 or so docks in South Sound had nothing  to do with the destruciton of the mangroves, its was called the sea.

      The waves were 30+ft coming over the reef, continuously for 12 hrs straight, that might have had something to do with the magroves, roads and houses getting destroyed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    see you haters!  We are world leaders!!!! 

  5. Pending says:

    The NDC pay no attention to these sorts of reports, that is clearly evident in their recent actions.