The Power and Potential of Mangroves

The Power and Potential of Mangroves

Date: 09/01/2023

Puná Island sits off the coast of Ecuador and is characterised by extensive mangrove estuaries and a seasonally dry tropical forest. To combat this issue, in 2021 DP World Posorja began a project to cover a further 65 hectares of Puna with a new mangrove plantation that would protect the biodiversity of the island.

The destruction of mangrove ecosystems on tropical and subtropical coastlines in South America is increasing drastically. According to research by the Natural Environment Research Council, more than a quarter of the mangrove wetlands and nearly 75 percent of the salt flats on Puná have disappeared over the last 40 years. 

The consequences are significant. Studies indicate that mangroves can capture four times more carbon than rainforests, and whilst mangroves make up less than one percent of all land-based forests around the world, they have a critical role in preventing carbon from entering the atmosphere. 

Mangroves also form the foundation of highly productive and biologically rich ecosystems; providing a home, nursery, and feeding ground for a wide range of species of fish, birds, insects, and reptiles. 

Amid rising sea levels, a mangrove forest plays a critical role in protecting coastal lands by acting as an environmental buffer against this threat – even when the area is subjected to potential sea level rises of up to 0.5mm per year. 

“Sowing Life”

In 2020, DP World Posorja took a stand, partnering with the CALISUR Foundation to re-populate 105 hectares of wetlands in a bid to stabilise coastal lands against erosion and protect the environment against hurricanes. 

The “Sembrando Vida” programme, which means “Sowing Life”, began in 2020 when DP World staff, volunteers, and local communities of Posorja, El Morro, and Puná planted over 150,000 mangrove seedlings. 

A further 35,000 red mangrove seedlings have been planted since then, with plans to sow a further 65,000 by 2024. 

“This is a truly impactful project which we have been honoured to support in our home. DP World recognises that by supporting communities and organisations which can protect and promote valuable natural ecosystems, we can have a positive impact on the world and areas in which we operate. Contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions into our atmosphere by protecting and growing the Mangrove forests of Puná Island and our future.”

- Carlos Merino, CEO of DP World, Ecuador

In total, DP World Posorja will have planted enough new mangroves to help capture over three million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. That is the equivalent of what 950 wind turbines running for a year can save - or the equivalent of what a car driving 7 billion miles gives out!

This critical work that protects the marine environment is also future-proofing the local fishing community, since mangroves provide a nursery-like habitat for marine life, including commercial fish and crustaceans.