How mangroves help fight climate change

Study shows that mangrove forests absorb and store four times more carbon than other types of forests

Did you know mangroves absorb and store around four times more carbon than most tropical forests? 

A study in Nature Geoscience journal examined the carbon content of 25 mangrove forests across the Indo-Pacific region. It found that, per hectare, mangrove forests can store up to four times more carbon than other types of forests. 

Commonly known for sheltering animals and protecting communities from flooding, coastal trees are a powerhouse at capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Conserving them is more crucial now than ever when climate change looms large. 

Despite their slew of environmental benefits, mangrove forests continue to face threats. In 1918, the Philippines had some 450,000 hectares of thriving mangrove forests, but by 2020, latest data from the DENR-Forest Management Bureau showed only 311,400 hectares were left. 

How can we help? 

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and DENR have teamed up to create a nationwide mangrove map to guide conservation projects, coastal management, and scientific research for mangrove forests. 

“Amid the climate emergency and destruction of mangroves, everyone has the ability to make a difference by tracking and protecting our natural resources,” said DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga. 

The department seeks public help in mapping mangroves across the country. To help, take photos of mangrove areas, submit them through the app, and contribute to verifying satellite data for the National Mangrove Map. 

“Using satellite imagery and spaceborne data, we can develop the methodologies and algorithms to make more frequent and timely monitoring possible, and ultimately this should be directed toward supporting more sound decision-making and policies,” explained PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph Marciano Jr. 

Protecting coastal trees is a win-win for us humans and the environment. As the International Day for Biological Diversity draws near, it's vital to acknowledge the significance of planting and, ultimately, conserving mangrove ecosystems that help fight the colossal challenges of climate change.