Clear-cutting of tropical mangrove forests to create shrimp ponds and cattle pastures contributes significantly to the greenhouse gas effect, one of the leading causes of global warming, new research suggests.
A seven-year study, led by Oregon State University and the Center for International Forestry Research, spanned five countries across the topics from Indonesia to the Dominican Republic. The researchers concluded that mangrove conversion to agricultural uses resulted in a land-use carbon footprint of 1,440 pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere for the production of every pound of beef; and 1,603 pounds of released carbon dioxide for every pound of shrimp.
Mangrove forests that incorporate local communities into their management fare better, a new study finds. Recognizing the importance of gender and community rights in mangrove use and planning prevents the deterioration of these fragile ecosystems.
These are some of the conclusions of a new global study on mangrove governance from The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) released today, on World Wetlands Day. Scientists conducted a review of international literature as well as case studies in Indonesia and Tanzania.
According to the study, mangrove forests are overwhelmingly managed by government institutions. They often fall under the jurisdiction of multiple ministries, from the Ministry of Forestry to the Ministry of Fishery, creating a maze of vague responsibilities that deliver little protection on the ground.
Typically, mangroves are classified as protected areas, but officials often lack the resources needed to effectively protect them. Compounding this challenge are local communities who continue to be active users of mangrove forests, but who do not have clear or documented rights and incentives to sustainably use or protect them for the long term.