Mangrove Ecosystems


Mangrove Tree


Mangroves are special trees that live in coastal wetland areas in the tropics. They are considered by many to be the amphibians of the plant world. Land dwellers by low tide, their underwater forest of roots provide a critical habitat for marine life when the waters rise. Shellfish, crabs, fish, shrimp and certain species of sea turtles all depend on mangrove roots for their nesting grounds.

Half of the world’s mangroves have vanished in modern times. The remaining mangrove and wetland ecosystems sequester as much carbon as there is currently in the atmosphere. Protecting the remaining mangroves is critical not just to mitigate climate change, but also to reduce the impact of hurricanes, deter erosion, and preserve the world's biodiversity.


The Lower Lempa River Estuary and Bay of Jiquilisco of El Salvador together contain the largest remaining mangrove forest in Central America. At 74,000 acres, this area is two times the size of the city of San Francisco. Threats to this ecosystem include proposed tourist resorts, the expansion the use of explosives in fishing, and deforestation by local people.


The only way to protect this wetland of world importance is to create regional and local environmental policies enforced by local communities, and to build a local sustainable economy so that local people can support their families without hurting the ecosystem. Learn more about our work to protect mangroves.



Protect the mangroves, become a Mangrove Forest Guardian. Mangrove Forest Guardians support the work of local communities fighting to save their forests. By becoming an honorary Guardian you help the grassroots efforts of local community members to protect the forest and the programs that build sustainable answers to agriculture, tourism and community development.