Experts at the United Nations have expressed concern that the world’s mangrove forests are being destroyed at a more rapid rate than other forest ecosystems due to a combination of land conversion, urban development, and pollution.
A report from the United Nations Environment Program that was presented yesterday says that mangrove forests are disappearing anywhere from 3 to 5 times faster than other forests, and that by 2050, Southeast Asia could potentially lose 35% if the mangrove forests that it has in the year 2000.
“The escalating destruction and degradation of mangroves, driven by land conversion for aquaculture and agriculture, coastal development, and pollution, is occurring at an alarming rate, with over a quarter of the earth’s original mangrove cover now lost,” said United Nations Environment Program Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“This has potentially devastating effects on biodiversity, food security and the livelihoods of some of the most marginalized coastal communities in developing countries, where more than 90 per cent of the world’s mangroves are found,” he added.
Described by the report as one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, mangrove forests mitigate global warming by trapping massive amounts of carbon that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere.
United Nations Environment Program scientists and officials are holding a 3-day conference in Athens in order to seek solutions to major marine environmental issues, such as the accumulation of plastic debris in the seas, collapsing fish stocks, and the rapid acidification of the ocean.
Read more about the story at ABC News.