Global Mangrove Extent Much Smaller than Previously Estimated - UNEP Global Environmental Alert Services (GEAS) - October 2010
As confirmed by the impacts of the December 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 intact mangroves help stabilize shorelines and thus protect lives and property from such natural disasters. They also provide other ecosystem services such as breeding and nursing grounds for marine species and sources of food medicine fuel and building materials for local communities. In addition living mangroves store carbon keeping it out of the atmosphere. It is possible that mangroves and the soils they grow in could sequester about 22.8 million metric tonnes of carbon each year. Mangrove forests occur between the sea and land and are thought to cover about a quarter of the world's tropical and subtropical intertidal zones mostly between 5° N and 5° S latitude. Research reveals that the forests have been declining at an alarming rate however' perhaps even faster than inland tropical forests' and much of what is left is degraded.