Mangroves in Crisis: Why One Man Works to Save the Plants That Fight Climate Disruption

Published on truthout, by Dahr Jamail, May 31, 2016.

It’s not news that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is accelerating at unprecedented rates, according to climate scientists. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000, and this year is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded — by far … //

… The Importance of Mangroves:

  • Quarto now lives in Port Angeles, Washington, with his family, where he helps run MAP, giving him a global reach from his small rural home in the Pacific Northwest. While he’s able to do much of his work via the internet and phone calls, he still often travels to the tropics to work with those active in mangrove conservation projects.
  • Mangrove trees store up to five times as much carbon as other trees, which makes mangrove forests one of the most carbon-rich habitats on the planet. Recent scientific reports confirm the importance of the mangroves: They act as virtual carbon-scrubbers, taking CO2 out of the atmosphere … //

… An Ally Against Climate Change:

  • Only half the area of mangroves remains from what they once were, and their annual loss is currently estimated to be 1 to 2 percent, according to Quarto … //

… What Is to Be Done?

  • However, Quarto isn’t losing hope: He encourages people to support MAP and other mangrove preservation projects, both directly and indirectly. An important “indirect” tactic: simply reducing your consumption of imported shrimp, given that shrimp aquaculture is one of the leading causes of the loss of mangroves.
  • “Farmed shrimp in the global South results in massive mangrove loss, and trawled shrimp from these same nations is cause of terrible marine habitat damage and immense fish by-catch problems, all of which hurts the local communities as well as the mangroves,” Quarto explained.
  • Local communities are a cornerstone of Quarto’s approach to fighting the destruction of the mangroves. What sets MAP apart from other groups that engage in mangrove preservation, like the Clinton and Bush-led projects, is that MAP works in partnership with local communities in the preservation process, as well as in conservation.
  • “MAP works more at the grassroots, often partnering with community-based NGOs on projects,” Quarto explained. “I think this more close connection with the local coastal communities sets MAP apart from the mainstream environmental groups such as MFF, IUCN and Wetlands International that also work on mangrove issues.”
  • Pisit Charnsnah, Quarto’s old friend and co-founder of MAP, told him in 1992: “Mangroves sustain the people who sustain the mangroves.”
  • With the global ACD crisis mounting, the mangroves’ function as carbon sequestering areas makes them more important than ever — and shows why they must not only be preserved, but given room to expand and flourish.

(full text, related links).

(Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State).

To see more stories like this, visit Planet or Profit.


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