Unlocking conservation and restoration potentials in mangrove forests in Northeast Brazil

CEPB has been seeking to articulate with local communities and organizations to bring to the surface the relevance and importance of the conservation and restoration of this important ecosystem, the mangroves. The mangrove is considered a coastal ecosystem of transition between terrestrial and marine environments. Characteristic of tropical and subtropical regions, it is subject to the tidal regime, dominated by typical plant species, which are associated with other plant and animal components.

The biological richness of coastal ecosystems makes these areas great natural “nurseries”, both for the species characteristic of these environments, as well as for fish and other animals that migrate to coastal areas during at least one phase of their life cycle. life. It is in the mangrove that fish, molluscs and crustaceans find the ideal conditions for reproduction, nursery, breeding and shelter for several species of aquatic and terrestrial fauna, of ecological and economic value.

Mangrove area on the Ceará River

There are about 162,000 km2 mangroves in the world. In Brazil alone, this ecosystem represents about 25,000 km2 of mangrove forests. Mangroves produce more than 95% of the food that humans capture from the sea. Its maintenance is vital for the livelihood of the fishing communities that live in its surroundings. The mangrove vegetation serves to secure the land, thus preventing erosion and at the same time stabilizing the coast. Mangrove roots act as filters to retain sediment. It constitutes an important genetic bank for the recovery of degraded areas.

The main factors that cause changes in the physical, chemical and biological properties of the mangrove are:

  • Landfill and Deforestation
  • Fires
  • Waste disposal
  • Sewage release
  • Releases of industrial effluents
  • Predatory fishing
Without mangroves, coastal water quality is reduced, accumulated carbon is lost and fish stocks are reduced. Studies reveal that these areas sequester 57% more carbon than other types of tropical vegetation. Therefore, the integrity of mangroves is also capable of mitigating climate imbalance, one of the greatest challenges of our time. As a negative consequence of the loss of this ecosystem, we have a shortage of supplies, greater exposure to infectious diseases and infrastructure wear.
Leader of the indigenous community of the Tapeba people, located in the municipality of Caucaia.

25% of mangrove areas have already been lost in Brazil. For this reason, CEPB, through its coordinator in Brazil, Max Almeida, recently visited some areas in the municipalities of Fortaleza and Caucaia, to closely monitor actions already being implemented and seek to promote actions that really stop the degradation of this important ecosystem. and develop restoration actions. CEPB has dialogued with local and international organizations with the aim of unlocking actions that seek to develop more projects for the conservation and restoration of mangroves. Our support for these organizations and communities can be critical to the future of this climate-relevant ecosystem.

By protecting the mangroves, we also preserve popular culture, especially indigenous communities that live in their surroundings, such as the Tapebas community, located in the municipality of Caucaia, where we can talk to some members and learn how indigenous knowledge can guide us to another logic of use and harmony with nature. There is a wealth of traditional knowledge in coastal communities, where we find stories, legends and myths that link the real and the imaginary.

A woman works in the process of restoring mangroves in a degraded area.

Given the concern about the degradation of mangroves, since this ecosystem is extremely important, especially for its potential to mitigate the effects of climate change, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, studies aimed at its recovery are important and show that it is possible to promote the reestablishment of this ecosystem. Thus, CEPB has dialogued with researchers from the Federal University of Ceará, as well as members of local organizations, such as the Brasil Cidadão organization, which has been seeking to develop mangrove restoration projects in areas of communities that derive their source of survival from this ecosystem. . CEPB is very honored to join forces to protect this ecosystem essential for the natural balance of the planet.