Unsustainable harvesting of mangroves a concern

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

A report has highlighted that mangroves across Solomon Islands are facing increasing threats from human activities such as unsustainable harvesting for firewood and building materials.

Besides, the ongoing sea level rises as a result from ocean warming and thermal expansion and contamination from logging activities, plastic pollution and increasing population are contributing factors.

From the World Fish facts file, it stated that mangroves are important ecosystems that provide food, firewood, building materials, and shoreline protection for coastal communities.

It is a crucial nursery grounds for fisheries, which support the livelihoods of 85 percent of people in the Solomon Islands, it said.

Despite the how valuable these ecosystems are to people, mangrove is reportedly under increasing threat which comes from sustainable harvesting and building materials and climate change impact, it said.

It said, “In many areas, mangrove trees are unsustainably harvested by for firewood and building materials. This harvesting threatens vital marine resources.”

According to the Solomon Islands’ National Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation summary report 2018, mangrove has been destroyed at an alarming rate of 1.7 percent per year.

If country continues to experience such increasing rate, it means a loss of SBD161.9m (USD$21.6M) yearly.

The report shows, Solomon Islands mangroves provide carbon sequestration benefits to the world, worth about SBD$161.9M (USD$21.6M) each year.

If protected, areas of mangroves and seagrass at risk for destruction could be marked and sold as carbon offsets, but the cost of verifying and managing protected areas would need to be assessed case-by-case basis, it said.

Unsustainable harvesting of mangroves a concern

Meanwhile, if mangroves are seriously considered to be protected, the report highlighted its potential revenue from sale of carbon offsets is estimated to SBD$51.1—$72.8M (USD$7.3M—9.69M) per year.

Solomon Islands’ mangroves have covered a total land area of 27,556 (km2) with 17 species (2 hybrid), a report shows.

Currently, Solomon Islands Government through Ocean 12 steering committee, are working on creating an Ocean policy on how to protect and sustain our ecosystem which might spell out mangroves.

Meanwhile, marine pollution, due to land-based sources, is reaching alarming levels, with an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter to be found on every square kilometre of ocean.

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification.

Enhancing conservation and sustainable use of ocean-based resources through international law will also help mitigate some of the challenges facing our oceans.

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