The removal of mangrove ecosystems increases vulnerability of coastal communities

Coastal development in Myanmar removes mangrove plantations. © UNEP, 2014


Mangroves are under pressure throughout much of coastal South Asia where they are being cleared for agriculture, aquaculture, and urbanization. Myebon is located in the coastal state of Arakan, where many of Myanmar’s mangrove forests are found. Several large areas of mangrove were cleared for agriculture and other uses (e.g. paddy fields and salt pans) between 1979 and 2000.

Mangrove ecosystems occur at the transition between marine and terrestrial ecosystems and provide important services to both. They provide nursery and breeding areas for many marine species and are essential for maintaining healthy fisheries. They are also a prime habitat for migratory birds, amphibians, and many terrestrial species. In terms of their regulating services, mangroves play a vital role in protecting coastlines from storm surges, flooding, and erosion. The removal of the mangrove ecosystems has severely reduced the flood regulation functions of the system that protect the local communities, increasing the risk from severe weather events.

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