Creating partnerships to
halt and reverse the loss
of Mangroves
“Save Our Mangroves Now!” is an international initiative that mobilizes political decision makers and supports other actors towards halting and reversing the loss of mangroves, both globally and with a specific focus on the Western Indian Ocean. Mangroves matter to each and every one of us. They help our climate, protect our coastlines, provide us with food and support livelihoods for people living by the sea. The initiative is led by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). We join forces with other mangrove conservation stakeholders to connect the needs of nature and people by giving voice and showing solutions to the current environmental challenges.

Follow and save the #humangroves.


Mangrove ecosystems are made up of more than 70 species of salt-tolerant plants1 and – as of today – cover more than 14 million ha of tropical and subtropical coastal areas and river deltas worldwide2. This diverse group of plants is specialized to thrive in harsh coastal conditions. Even though they make up only 0.1 % of the global landmass3, mangrove forests are one of Earth’s most climate resilient, resource-rich and bio diverse ecosystems.


Mangroves are threatened.
Drivers of mangrove loss:


35% between 1980 and 20005 – the equivalent of losing almost 150,000 football fields anually6, and 4 times higher than overall global forest loss1.


causes more than half of mangrove losses globally, mostly due to shrimp culture7.


Conversion to rice paddies is responsible for 88% of mangrove loss in Myanmar11.


can cause altered species composition, fragmentation and total clearance of mangrove forests.


Urbanisation drives mangrove loss and degradation; human population density in coastal regions is 3 times higher than global average12.


Air temperature and rainfall regimes influence global mangrove distribution15; abrupt changes in sea level are a primary cause of local and regional extinctions15-17.


Mangrove‘s aerial roots, through which they obtain oxygen, can easily be smothered and clogged by sediment, solid waste and oil14.


The benefits people derive from mangroves:

Water filtration

2-5 hectares of mangroves may treat the effluents of 1 hectare of aquaculture4.

Climate regulation

The carbon storage potential of mangroves is 3-5 times higher than that of tropical upland forest due to strong carbon storage in the soil8; CO2 released by global mangrove loss annually could be as high as the annual emissions of Australia9-10.


Its density makes mangrove wood a valued source of timber and fuel.


More than 3000 fish species are found in mangrove ecosystems13.

Mangrove ecosystem services

are worth US $ 33,000 - 57,000 per hectare per year14. Multiplied with the global mangrove area of 14 million hectares2 – that‘s up to US$ 800 billion per year.


There are over 2,000 mangrove-related attractions globally, such as boat tours, boardwalks, kayaking and fishing18.

Coastal protection

Restoring mangroves for coastal defence is up to 5 times more cost-effective than “grey infrastructure” such as breakwaters19.

Mangroves are a crucial component in the life cycle of tropical coastal ecosystems

Mangroves are strongly connected with other coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. Mangroves prevent erosion and, often lacked at river mouths, they filter and retain sediments and excess nutrients that would otherwise wash into the ocean.

They support a range of wildlife species, many of whom migrate between several ecosystems. Mangroves are particularly important as breeding areas for many fish and invertebrate larvae that at a later stage in their lifecycle may migrate to other coastal habitats or even offshore waters. Mangroves therefore constitute one pillar that secures many other habitats.

(1) Spalding et al., 2010 (2) Giri et al., 2011 (3) FAO, 2003 (4) Primavera et al., 2007 (5) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 (6) 0.66% or 102,000 hectares annually (2000-2005): FAO, 2007 (7) Valiela et al., 2001 (8) In the Indo-Pacific region: Donato et al., 2011 (9) Up to 450 mio t CO2: Pendleton et al., 2012 (10) In 2015: EDGARv4.3.2., 2018 (11) Over 2000–2012: Richards & Friess, 2016 (12) Small et al., 2003 (13) Sheaves, 2017 (14) UNEP, 2014 (15) Alongi, 2015 (16) Duke et al., 2017 (17) Lovelock et al., 2017 (18) Spalding et al., 2016 (19) In Vietnam: Narayan et al., 2016

Mangroves are climate-heroes
Mangroves provide life-savers livelihoods for over 120 million people14
Mangroves are life-savers
As part of our commitment to contribute to mangrove conservation,
“Save Our Mangroves Now!” is active on several levels:
International policy work

Our goal is to embed ambitious objectives on mangrove conservation in inter- national and national political agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

With a new strategic framework of the CBD and the first revision process of the NDCs expected for 2020, nature-based solutions, like mangroves, need to gain importance in political decision-making. Hence, we are working to increase awareness among decision makers about the importance of mangroves – for biodiversity, sustainable development and combatting climate change.

The Community of Ocean Action (CoA) on Mangroves is one of several implementation measures under SDG 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans. “Save Our Mangroves Now!” is a Voluntary Commitment by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to contribute to this global effort. It supports major activities of the CoA through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s role as a focal point for the CoA.

National policy and regional cooperation in the Western Indian Ocean

We believe that a regional approach is needed to effectively halt mangrove loss. “Save Our Mangroves Now!” supports the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region to become a champion in mangrove conservation.

Our engagement with a variety of stakeholders from academics to law professionals, field developers, government officials, policymakers and representatives of the private sector facilitates exchange and supports regional networks – paving the way for mainstreaming mangrove conservation into national strategies.

We support capacity development in the Western Indian Ocean, following the needs identified by the regional stakeholders themselves. Measures include assessments of national legal frameworks.

We also support lighthouse projects to foster innovation, identify best practices and bridge the science-policy gap – like in Kenya, where we engage in the mapping and assessment of carbon stocks in Lamu’s mangroves. At the same time and together with our partners, we prepare the ground to integrate the results into national policy.

Partnerships & cooperation

Our political goals, and ultimately their implementation on the ground, can only be achieved through broad cooperation. It is hence one of our essential tasks to build and facilitate partnerships – with various actors at all levels.

We support the broad and ambitious approach of the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) that provides a strategic platform for the global alignment of mangrove agendas. The Alliance brings together leading conservation NGOs engaged in mangrove protection and restoration.

We initiated a mangrove partnership between the BMZ and the government of Madagascar, leading to the provision of €7 million of additional funding for mangrove conservation in Madagascar.

Mangroves have a strong voice in the WIO region, namely the WIO Mangrove Network. It is our natural partner, holding the biggest expertise and experience on mangrove conservation and restoration in the WIO region.

Knowledge exchange is a crucial factor of successful cooperation. We are dedicated to creating opportunities for exchange, improving knowledge accessibility for all stakeholders and helping close existing knowledge gaps on mangrove protection and restoration. Some of our work is on legal frameworks governing mangroves and on the potential to increase investments in mangrove conservation.