Mangroves: the lungs of western Madagascar

Posted on 16 July 2021
In Madagascar, more than one death out of five is estimated to be linked to pollution exposure. Among the causes, there are bush fires and deforestation that emit considerable carbon dioxide, while destroying the forests that should eliminate this greenhouse gas from our environment. For all these reasons, we must conserve and restore nature in general, forests, mangroves.
Indeed, mangroves have a better capacity to capture carbon dioxide than any other forest: 110 kg per sequestered hectare per day (Jin Eong Ong, 2002). In other words, they help us breathe cleaner air. Breathing cleaner air reduces the risk of pollution-related diseases. In short, the more we restore and reforest mangroves, the cleaner our air becomes.

Western Madagascar has some of the most intact mangroves. They represent 98% of the mangroves in our country. Especially in the Melaky and Menabe regions, 41,100 ha of mangroves are managed by community associations divided into 12 natural resource management committees. The mangroves also represent a shelter for the halieutic resources. One hectare of dense and healthy mangroves can produce up to one ton of fish and also 2.5 tons of crabs per square kilometer per year.
Particularly in the fokontany of Ankevo sur Mer (Commune Belo sur Mer, Menabe region) the association of fishermen "Velondriaky miraisoa" (Who live from the oceans in harmony in french) has realized in collaboration with the support of WWF a first reforestation of mangroves in 2019. Today, members of the association confirm that positive changes have been observed.  There are clearly more fish, crabs, and shrimp. The president of the association Alphonse Vincent also supports that the mangroves are essential for future generations.

According to a WWF survey in April 2021, "the incomes of the 80% of the population living along the coast of the Melaky and Menabe regions are increasingly dependent on mangroves." WWF is an actor in the conservation and restoration of mangroves with communities. We support the structuring of community associations that manage mangroves. We also strengthen the techniques of sustainable management, whether in the use of wood or in the fishing of fishery resources from mangroves.