Deterioration of mangroves favors disasters in El Salvador

Deterioration of mangroves favors disasters in El Salvador

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By Jacqueline Pineda

Mangroves are ecosystems of great importance in El Salvador because they are suitable spaces for the development and reproduction of different species of great commercial value, for example: fish, shrimp, crabs among others, in addition, this type of ecosystems has a very important function, since it serves as a barrier to protect against floods, droughts and hurricanes, in addition to providing food and shelter to a large number of migratory birds.

Due to their environmental importance, the conservation of these ecosystems has become a priority for the country, since they are considered key to reducing the vulnerability of coastal populations to climatic events.

According to Carolina Amaya, coordinator of the Climate and Energy Program of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), mangroves are unique ecosystems on the planet, since they have a series of social, climatic, biodiversity, water, and economic functions, among others.

"Mangroves are the first natural barrier to protect the coast, not only against floods, but, now even with the rise in sea level and we could see it with this from the sea in the background, which is a phenomenon that causes very extensive waves generated by storms in the sea and if these waves do not have barriers that can stop them, they reach the coasts and produce a great impact on the structures and can even damage them, ”said Amaya.

Likewise, he explained that these phenomena could reduce their strength if the mangroves were not so deteriorated and expressed that the main thing is to raise awareness among the population in order to prevent them from continuing to destroy these forests, since there could be more phenomena like this and have a greater impact .

On the other hand, in addition to being a protective barrier, it has an important function in the development of the coastal zone, since according to Amaya, they provide 70 percent of the food sold on the coast.

"Organisms caught in the sea such as shrimp, fish and crabs that carry out part of their life cycle in the mangroves, return to the coasts of our country and that is where they are traded by vendors," said the coordinator of UNES.

For his part, Rafael Vela, coordinator of the Climate Change and Biodiversity program of the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technologies (Basket), warns that mangroves should not be used as a means of subsistence for families in the coastal zone, since these organisms give them life to the forests.

"Mangroves should not be seen as a means of sustenance for families because if the resources that these ecosystems have to maintain themselves run out, we are in great danger because we would not have that barrier that they provide us with against natural phenomena," Vela explained.

In addition to their rich biodiversity, mangroves are natural reserves and their protection is regulated in article 74 of the Environmental Law, which establishes that: “mangroves are ecological reserves, so no alteration will be allowed in them. The coastal marine areas where these ecosystems are contained will be considered fragile areas ”.

For this reason, different governmental and non-governmental organizations such as UNES, the Basket and the Fund of the Initiative for the Americas (Fiaes), are dedicated to providing technical and financial assistance for the execution of environmental projects, as well as awareness plans to the population to prevent these forests from continuing to disappear.

Maintenance plan

According to Amaya, from 1950 to date, 60 percent of the mangroves in El Salvador have been destroyed, because of that natural phenomena are becoming stronger and greatly affect the country's economy. For Amaya, the cultivation of sugar cane has been extended to destroy 30 percent of the mangrove swamp in Jiquilisco Bay, Usulután.

Likewise, Vela explained that the Cesta has different projects in order to reduce the negative impact that it affects, mainly the mangroves, since they represent the home of thousands of species between fauna and flora that help to maintain and regenerate them, especially in the bay. from Jiquilisco, Usulután, Barra de Santiago and Garita Palmera, which are the most damaged.


Video: Will mangrove forests save us from climate change? - Assoc Prof Dan Friess (July 2022).


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