The ASEAN region lost about 33 per cent of its mangrove forests between 1980 and 2020, a decrease of more than 63,000sq km, said the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
Nations that comprise ASEAN have just around 43,000sq km of mangrove forests remaining.
The ACB statement was released on Sunday and coincided with the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. The intent is to remind the public of the importance of mangrove forests and the value of dealing with mangrove deforestation.
ASEAN accounts for 42 per cent of the world’s total mangrove forests which provide critical breeding habitats for about 75 per cent of fish species caught in the oceans.
Apart from supporting the world’s food systems, mangroves are the planet’s protectors against the catastrophic consequences of climate change. They can store 10 times as much carbon as terrestrial ecosystems and specialised root systems make them natural buffer zones in coastal areas.
Mangroves also minimise the impact of strong ocean waves and winds and help reduce erosion and siltation that impact coastal communities.