Most destructive uses of mangrove forests require their removal. The motivations behind deforestation include direct use of the mangrove wood and leaf products, use of the wetland habitat, or complete fill and conversion for coastal developments.
Deforestation for fuel & timber accounts for the ongoing loss of approximately 26 percent of existing mangroves (Valiela et al. 2001). Mangrove reforestation has had very low success, although new hydrology-based methods may be more promising (Lewis & Gilmore 2007). Even so, we cannot rely on reforestation to prevent mangrove loss. These fragile and rare ecosystems are being lost at such a tremendous rate that mangrove experts predict that without changes to current practices, mangroves will be functionally extinct in less than a century (Duke et al. 2007). A world without mangroves means a world without most fisheries, without bioshields from storms, and without many bird and other species. The loss of mangroves as a unique habitat would directly jeopardize more than a billion of the world’s human population.
Duke, N. C., J.-O. Meynecke, S. Dittmann, A. M. Ellison, K. Anger, U. Berger, S. Cannicci, K. Diele, K. C. Ewel, C. D. Field, N. Koedam, S. Y. Lee, C. Marchand, I. Nordhaus, and F. Dahdouh-Guebas. 2007. A world without mangroves? Science 317: 41–42.
Lewis III, R. R. and R. G. Gilmore. 2007. Important considerations to achieve successful mangrove forest restoration with optimum fish habitat. 2007. Bulletin of Marine Science 80(3): 823–837.
Valiela I., J. L. Bowen, J. K. York. 2001. Mangrove forests: One of the world’s threatened major tropical environments. BioScience 51: 807–815.