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Conservation

Why? 

Why not?! Mangrove forests provide many ecosystem services that help to maintain our quality of life in the Cayman Islands. 

Mangroves do more proportionally than any other forest to sequester carbon – up to 5x more per hectare than tropical rainforests. This makes mangrove forests – and their restoration – one of the planet’s best and most important defenses against climate change. 

- Mangrove Action Project 

Sunday July 26th marks World Mangrove Day. This International Day for the Conservation of this wetland ecosystem was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2015 and “aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses.”

Some of our Mangrove Rangers venturing into the mangrove wetlands, collecting data on their growth and the impacts caused by nearby developments

Although mangrove habitats help retain carbon, protect our island from storm surges and hurricanes, and are home to immense biodiversity, they are severely threatened. Mangroves are disappearing five times faster than overall global forest losses. In fact, in the last 40 years it is estimated that we have lost 50% of our global mangrove coverage. Here in Cayman, we have less than 40% of our mangroves left, most of which can be found in our Central Mangrove Wetland (CMW) ecosystem. 

Luckily in March, the Cayman Islands Government adopted the Species Conservation Plan, which formalizes mangrove protection. In fact, anyone who removes, damages or kills them commits an offense under Section 33 of the National Conservation Law. However, Cayman’s mangroves and the CMW are still threatened by over-development and unsustainable removal. To celebrate this year’s World Mangrove Day, the Junior Mangrove Ranger program is set to launch. It aims to recruit and train young Caymanians who want to protect our Central Mangrove Environment  to help create a sustainable future for Cayman. The Rangers will be raising community awareness and collecting vital data as well as monitoring mangrove destruction through illegal removal and development.

World Mangrove Day and The Cayman Islands Mangrove Ranger Launch Programme