Combating Climate Change with “Blue Forests”

Humans not only cut down or burn down ordinary forests for their livelihoods, but also “blue forests”. Never heard of them? Recently myclimate started supporting two projects in which blue forests play the main role – mangrove forests! Mangroves are the forests of the sea, specially adapted to the inhospitable, salty environment where land and ocean meet. Just like “normal” forests, mangroves store CO₂ and provide habitats for animals and plants.

Wild elephants are returning to the mangrove forest in Myanmar after three years of replanting, together with monkeys and other endemic, endangered species.

The blue forests also protect against storm surges, provide firewood and building materials, and contribute towards ensuring a food supply through the provision of fishing grounds for shrimps and crabs, etc. In our project in Myanmar, the local population is involved with the restoration of the degraded mangrove ecosystems, which increases the fish stocks and thus income. Education is promoted via scholarships and solar cells and computers in schools. Women are trained and supported in activities such as shellfish farming and the production of clothing and natural textile dyeing.

“Approximately 10 percent of global emissions from deforestation are caused by the loss of mangrove forests.”

In the myclimate project in Madagascar, the local people learn sustainable harvesting methods in order to profit from mangrove wood in the long term. In addition, the project involves the communities in the reforestation and establishment of wood plantations, which replace mangrove wood as building and fuel material. Healthy mangroves protect offshore coral reefs, which in turn are the habitat of endangered endemic species. Both projects contribute towards SDG 14, which relates to the protection of life under water. The endangered sea turtle and dugongs (manatees) live in the project region in Myanmar. The endangered green sea turtle and grey reef shark live in the waters around Madagascar. Animals that live on the land have already returned to the reforested mangroves, including wild elephants and monkeys.

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