Mangrove Alliance for Climate
What’s in the news?
- At the 27th Session of Conference of Parties (COP27), this year’s UN climate summit, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) was launched with India as a partner.
- The move, in line with India’s goal to increase its carbon sink, will see New Delhi collaborating with Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other countries to preserve and restore the mangrove forests in the region.
- An initiative led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) includes India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, and Spain.
- It seeks to educate and spread awareness worldwide on the role of mangroves in curbing global warming and its potential as a solution for climate change.
- The intergovernmental alliance works on a voluntary basis which means that there are no real checks and balances to hold members accountable. Instead, the parties will decide their own commitments and deadlines regarding planting and restoring mangroves.
- The members will also share expertise and support each other in researching, managing and protecting coastal areas.
Significance of mangroves
- Mangrove forests — consisting of trees and shrubs that live in intertidal water in coastal areas — host diverse marine life.
- They also support a rich food web, with molluscs and algae-filled substrate acting as a breeding ground for small fish, mud crabs and shrimps, thus providing a livelihood to local artisanal fishers.
- Equally importantly, they act as effective carbon stores, holding up to four times the amount of carbon as other forested ecosystems. Mangrove forests capture vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and their preservation can both aid in removal of carbon from the atmosphere and prevent the release of the same upon their destruction.
Current state of the mangroves
- South Asia houses some of the most extensive areas of mangroves globally, while Indonesia hosts one-fifth of the overall amount.
- India holds around 3 percent of South Asia’s mangrove population. Besides the Sundarbans in West Bengal, the Andamans region, the Kachchh and Jamnagar areas in Gujarat too have substantial mangrove cover.
- However, infrastructure projects — industrial expansion and building of roads and railways, and natural processes — shifting coastlines, coastal erosion and storms, have resulted in a significant decrease in mangrove habitats.
- Between 2010 and 2020, around 600 sq km of mangroves were lost of which more than 62% was due to direct human impacts, the Global Mangrove Alliance said in its 2022 report.
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