What can you do?

Eat as little shrimp as possible!

The shrimp and aquaculture industry has contributed significantly to the loss of mangrove forests in recent decades. Large-scale clearing occurred in Southeast Asia and Latin America, in particular for the construction of fish and shrimp ponds. Large investments were made in many regions, with little benefit for the local population. They are hired as cheap employees, responsible for protecting and maintaining the ponds. Furthermore, intensive aquaculture is only profitable for a short period, with far-reaching consequences for the regions. Faeces, chemicals and medicines settle down at the bottom of the ponds – polluting soils, waters as well as the groundwater. As soon as the ponds are no more productive, they are abandoned by the companies and the local population is left defenseless with destroyed ecosystems.

A study (Kauffman et al., 2017) has calculated that an average of 1.603 kg of CO2e is emitted per kilogram of shrimp produced – originating from former mangrove forests. This number refers to ponds with a low yield, whereas intensively managed ponds have much higher emissions.

Avoid palm oil products!

The rise of palm oil, as the world’s most widely used vegetable oil, is part of the problem in mangrove destruction – especially on Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesia). These regions are considered as top palm oil producers and account for around 85% of the world’s palm oil. On the Global Forest Watch map you can see current mangrove stocks (green) and palm oil plantations (red) – which often overlap. You can go across the archipelago, seeing mangrove stocks and palm oil plantations, by zooming and dragging.

Most plantations are run by big private companies or small farmers, who sell palm oil to the companies. In the past, the conversion of mangrove forests into palm oil plantations may have been underestimated, as palm oil crops are generally considered a terrestrial problem and mangroves are located between land and sea (Lee et al., 2014, Abood et al., 2014, Richards & Friess , 2016; Basyuni & Sulistiyono, 2018).

Identifying palm oil in products is difficult as it hides behind a variety of names, but not impossible. Take your time, inform yourself and try to use palm oil free products!

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Say no to any kind of tropical wood!

Due to the special properties of the mangrove wood,  it is often used in aquaristics to create the most natural environment. The wood also has a high fiber content, which makes it interesting for paper manufacturing.

Be a multiplier!

Share your knowledge on mangrove forests – their local and global importance as well as threats and buying decisions. Help mangrove forests to get more attention!

Support mangrove projects!

Support environmental education or projects that foster natural mangrove regeneration.

And always be a critical customer!

In the supermarkets, restaurants, DIY markets etc.