Mangroves play a vital role in sustaining a healthy marine environment. They are essential for protecting our coastlines from storm surges, erosion, and hurricanes. Their roots serve as a nursery for a variety of invertebrates and juvenile fish; their root structures minimize the amount of pollution that flows into open water, and they are a valuable source of potential new compounds used in cancer research and pharmaceuticals.
Coastal communities are first to face the impacts of coastal degradation – reduced flood protection, decreased water quality, extreme soil erosion and a rapid decline in the variety and abundance of food sources (many of which come from mangroves in the tropics).
In spite of their ecological and socio-economic importance, mangrove conservation has not been able to match the rate of mangrove destruction and loss. Human impact alone has resulted in the loss of 25% to an astonishing 100% of various mangrove forests worldwide.
The issue of mangrove restoration is critical.
Deforestation alone has contributed to the loss of least 35% of the world’s rainforests.
DID YOU KNOW?
On a global scale, mangroves have been shown to sequester carbon in quantities comparable to higher-canopy terrestrial rainforests, which means that they may play a role in climate change mitigation, in addition to physically protecting coastlines from the projected sea-level rise associated with climate change.
Wetland plants, like mangroves, take in carbon dioxide when they perform photosynthesis. They then convert this into biomass made of complex carbon compounds. Mangrove forests, the most carbon-rich of tropical forests, are highly productive and are found to store 3 to 4 times more carbon than other tropical forests. This is known as Blue carbon.
MANGROVES ARE CRITICAL
Mangroves are sensitive ecosystems, changing dynamically in response to storms, sediment blockage, and fluctuations in sea level and often present a “moving target” for restoration efforts. Thus, diverse restoration approaches are needed to face this challenge.
To date, the FCOLC has helped restore more than 35,000 mangroves. This work will continue with replanting mangroves on shorelines globally and developing model educational programs that engage those most impacted. Our aim is to facilitate a shared responsibility for protecting the mangroves and create local plans of action.
PROGRAM OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES:
Restored more than 35,000 mangroves to date (in Florida alone).
Replant mangroves on shorelines globally.
Develop model educational programs to engage those most impacted.
Facilitate a shared responsibility for protecting mangroves and creating local plans of action.
REPLANTING & REVITALIZING
LOCAL COMMUNITIES WITH ACTION & EDUCATION
Through education and ecological restoration activities, the FCOLC will empower people to protect and restore the mangrove forests in different locations such as North Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Key Largo, Key West, Gulf Stream and Brevard County.
Our goal is to not only expand this program into other locations, but also provide the program’s participants with a newfound appreciation for the mangrove’s biodiversity and inhabitants, as well as leaving these individuals with a passion to protect these ecosystems now and in the future.