Nairobi, Oct 07 (IPS) – Stinky, boggy and full of bugs, the superpowers of mangroves are well hidden. However, there is growing confidence that mangroves are silver bullets in tackling the effects of climate change.
“Mangrove ecosystems can absorb three to four times more carbon than habitats and nursery lands and tropical upstream forests, which helps mitigate the effects of climate change,” says Dr. Lanka, a senior lecturer at Wayamba University in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Nicholas Hardman, Head of the Ocean and Natural Resources Department at the Canwell Secretariat?
In this context, he said the Commonwealth countries are working together under the Commonwealth Blue Charter, an agreement reached by all 54 member states, to work actively together to address maritime-related challenges and to meet global commitments to sustainable sea development.
The Blue Charter works through a group of volunteer groups led by ‘champion countries’, who rally around marine pollution and a sustainable blue economy.
The Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods Action Group consists of 11 countries, including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu and the United Kingdom.
Hardman? Mountford told IPS that countries exchange knowledge between action groups focusing on mangrove protection, management and sustainability. Sharing knowledge covers a wide range of topics, including policies, laws and regulatory structures.
Utilizing the defensive power of the mangroves, Jayakodi said that Sri Lanka is actively building its second line of defense. The country’s first line of defense, the reefs, was largely compromised by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – one of the deadliest disasters in modern history, killing nearly 200,000 people in dozens of countries.
The Sri Lankan government estimated a loss of $ 1 billion in assets and $ 330 million in potential production.
Worse, an estimated 35,000 people have died or gone missing. In Sri Lanka alone, there have been 100,000 property damage, of which 20,000,000 have been destroyed. In all, at least 250,000 families have lost their means of support.
Experts say that mangroves have immense potential to prevent such catastrophes and to deal with other destructive effects of climate change.
Encouraged by growing scientific evidence, the dual-island Caribbean country has made significant progress in building defenses using the Trinidad and Tobago mangroves.
Dr Ra Rahana Juman, acting director of the Institute of Marine Affairs, a government-funded research institute, told IPS that in 2014-2014, the governments of Trinidad and Tobago conducted an aerial survey of the country. Using this data, an estimate of carbon in mangrove forests across the country was made.
“This data explains how mangroves and other hardwood forests can stop emissions and were listed as greenhouse gases in Trinidad and Tobago. Importantly, the survey conclusively shows that mangrove forests store more carbon per hectare than other hardwood forests,” Juman explained. By
In 2020, the Institute of Marine Affairs received funding from the British High Commission for a mangrove soil carbon assessment project involving Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr. Ju Juman pointed out that the assessment showed that “the amount of carbon in the mangrove soil was many times greater than the amount of carbon above the soil. This is an assessment that can be replicated in other Commonwealth countries because we have developed a low-cost strategy for this important assessment.”
Adding that mangroves have begun to reduce mission migration in the UN’s Deforestation and Deforestation (REDD +) program, countries could potentially make money from protecting and restoring mangroves.
Meanwhile, Hardman? Mountford mentions various challenges in exploring blue carbon because it is still an evolving field of science and policy.
Sri Lanka understands this challenge very well. In the aftermath of the tsunami, Joycodi said the government has launched a 2,000-hectare mangrove restoration project in partnership with other agencies.
Due to limited information about mangroves, he told IPS that most of these projects have failed. Over the years irresistible and leveraging in scientific research, Sri Lanka today is a success story in the restoration and preservation of mangrove cover which is approximately 19,600 hectares.
Other challenges facing countries interested in mangrove blue carbon include the lack of mangrove protection as about 75 percent of the world’s mangrove forests are unprotected and depleted.
Over the years, Joycody has indicated that mangroves are at extremely high risk of extinction because their ability to prevent coastal erosion, protect coastal areas, and provide livelihoods to coastal populations through fish farming has not been fully understood.
Hardman? Mountford agrees, adding that mangrove forests have declined globally in the last 50 years by more than 30-50 percent of losses from pollution, agriculture, aquaculture and coastal development.
The Commonwealth has a huge role to play in reversing this fall.
In all, there are 47 Commonwealth countries with a coastline.
“About 90 percent of the Commonwealth countries that have a coastline have mangroves, and at least 38 of these mangroves have some protection of their mangroves. Altogether, 16 countries have protected about half or more of their mangroves, ”he said.
This is a challenge that Sri Lanka is successfully overcoming. Approximately percent0 percent of Sri Lanka’s population lives along the coastline, Joykodi says, adding that there was an urgent need to protect both livelihoods and the coastline from further deterioration.
“In 2015, Sri Lanka established the National Mangrove Expert Committee and mapped all the mangroves. In addition, several new areas were brought under protection and relentless efforts were made to improve community understanding of the importance of the mangrove ecosystem,” he said.
In addition, Sri Lanka has recently validated best practice guidelines on mangrove restoration and the National Mangrove Action Plan in Sri Lanka in line with the Mangrove Policy adopted in 2020.
Other countries that are moving in the right direction include the Australian Government’s ongoing engagement with Blue Carbon, and in particular Blue Carbon’s ongoing efforts to build capacity through multifaceted partnerships in science, policy and economics.
To support her efforts at Blue Carbon Advocacy and Outreach, the Australian Government launched the International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC) at the UNFCCC COP in Paris in 2015, ”said Miss Heidi, Blue Charter Adviser to the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Australia is also one of 28 countries that specifically mentions the benefits of carbon emissions associated with coastal wetlands in its national greenhouse gas inventory. By comparison, the other 59 countries cite coastal ecosystems as part of their adaptation strategies.
To increase blue carbon opportunities to participate in the National Emissions Reduction Scheme, Emission Reduction Fund, the Australian Government has supported the study of possible mitigation methods that could be applied to generate carbon credits from domestic projects.
Equally important, he said, the Commonwealth member states have made 44 national commitments to protect or restore mangroves.
The world is looking at such a catastrophe from the devastating effects of climate change, the huge potential of blue carbon and therefore, the mangrove blue carbon to strengthen the adaptation, mitigation and resilience efforts of climate change can no longer be ignored.
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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service