Mangroves at sunset
Mangroves are one of the most economically important features of Belize's marine ecosystem. Mangroves and reefs protect coastal properties from erosion and wave-induced damage, providing almost a billion in avoided damages per year. In addition to that, mangroves provide a physical habitat and nursery grounds for a wide variety of marine organisms, many of which have important recreational or commercial value. They also help mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. This is why we must insist on the protection of mangroves today! Belize, and the entire planet cannot afford to lose this integral ecosystem.
Belize has the highest overall percentage of mangrove cover of any of the Central American countries, but is experiencing a major threat from clearance for development. This trend of mangrove deforestation is increasingly apparent in Ambergris Caye as coastal development is increasing year after year. Mangroves are essential to the environment as it provides fish nursery areas, protects coastal regions from erosion and storm surge, keeps coastal soil together, maintains healthy tropical marine ecosystems, provides a nesting and feeding area for birds, provides construction material, firewood, and fuel, and absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Photograph by OCEANA
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