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Preserve the services of mangroves -- Earth's invaluable coastal forests, experts urge
Date:11/14/2012

astal shelf areas off both the Northern Territories and Queensland -- one of the country's most valuable export fisheries, earning almost US $72 million annually.

One study cited in the policy brief shows that planting and protecting nearly 12,000 hectares of mangroves in Vietnam cost just over US$1 million but saved annual expenditures on dyke maintenance of well over US$7 million.

Meanwhile, the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve in Malaysia, is cited as arguably the world's best example of a sustainably-managed mangrove ecosystem. Established in 1902, it covers an area of about 500 square km, approximately 73% of which is considered productive forest while the rest is classified as non-productive or protected.

Only non-destructive forestry, fishing, and aquaculture practices are permitted. Harvesting of mangrove timber for poles, firewood, and charcoal production, occurs on a 30 year rotation cycle. Re-vegetation programmes are implemented two years after the final felling as required. Annual value of the forest products between 2000 and 2009 was estimated at roughly US$ 12.3 million, with cockle aquaculture adding an estimated annual value US$ 10.7 million.

"This case provides evidence that mangrove forests can be conserved and enjoyed while still providing reliable long-term but reasonably high economic return for local and larger communities," according to Dr. Spalding. "It shows that when well-managed, mangroves can ensure sustainable yields of products."

The report notes that around Cancn, Mexico, "a mangrove-fringed lagoon was replaced in just a few decades by high rise hotels and some of the most expensive real estate in the country. New coastal roads that were built to provide access to these hotels have cut off the natural hydrological connections between habitats."

"Without mangroves, coastal erosion is widespread and beaches are continuously being replenished artificially, a very expensive venture.
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
United Nations University
Source:Eurekalert  

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