We are proud to be part of a partnership to protect one of the planet’s most critical ecosystems: mangrove forests.
Mangrove forests are unique and precious coastal ecosystems. These trees and shrubs have evolved to grow in the salty water and ever-changing environment of intertidal zones, balancing where land meets sea. They sustain rich webs of life, and are an important habitat for countless species of birds, fish and shellfish, sea turtles, and other animals.
Mangrove forests are also critical to us: they provide us with food, fuel, and jobs in fishing and tourism; they purify our water; theys stabilize shorelines and act as a buffer against wind and waves, protecting us from increasingly strong storms; and perhaps most existentially, they help us regulate our planet’s climate by packing away carbon into their soil, roots, branches, and leaves – at a rate many times greater than tropical forests.
Mangrove forests are vital to our way of life and our survival.
But the mangrove forests of the world are in danger. Logging, pollution, overfishing, unregulated coastal development, and climate change all threaten these irreplaceable ecosystems and their inhabitants. We lost 20% of the world’s mangroves between 1980 and 2005, and mangrove forests continue to be destroyed and degraded.
The Bay of Jiquilisco
This is why EcoViva and are partners are focused on protecting El Salvador’s estuary and mangrove forest ecosystems, including the Bay of Jiquilisco. It is the largest protected area in the country at over 100,000 acres and was named a UN-recognized Ramsar Convention Wetland of International Importance in 2005 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2007. The area is legally co-managed by local communities who live from the mangrove forest and its bounty.
The alliance also works to enforce conservation measures in the San Diego Estuary in the central region and the Barra de Santiago/El Imposible protected area on the westernmost coast of the country.
An alliance for mangroves
The Mangrove Alliance, or Alianza Manglar in Spanish, is a coalition of community-based conservation organizations concerned with protecting the mangrove forests of El Salvador. The Alliance was established by our partners in 2016 as we recognized that only by working together could we effectively counteract the loss of these irreplaceable ecosystems.
The Mangrove Alliance facilitates coordination and collaboration among all the actors who have a stake in the wellbeing of the mangrove forests of El Salvador – first and foremost the local communities who live from the forest, as well as conservation organizations, scientists and other experts, and policymakers.
The Mangrove Alliance’s strategy consists of three interconnected parts: (1) community-led stewardship of mangrove forest ecosystems, (2) action-oriented scientific research to strengthen conservation and restoration initiatives, and (3) smart coastal policy that puts the wellbeing of local people and the environment first.
The vision and leadership of local communities are the heart of the Mangrove Alliance. Local resource users share power and responsibility with the government in a co-management framework, enhancing environmental conservation while empowering local communities to sustainably access resources from protected areas. Research shows that deforestation rates inside protected areas legally managed by the communities that depend on them are two to three times lower than in other forests. Co-management puts local communities in a leading role and is the most effective and morally just way to achieve long-term conservation goals.
A powerful grassroots social and environmental movement can organize communities to take action and make demands that change views and behaviors, bring about sustainable policies, and benefit all sectors of society. The Mangrove Alliance strives to consolidate and strengthen grassroots movements so they are more effective at fighting for sustainable change.
You can help
You can be a part of this important alliance to save our mangrove forests. By making a gift to EcoViva, you are protecting irreplaceable ecosystems and bolstering communities who are fighting for a just and sustainable future for all of us.
This work is made possible thanks to: