Protect Mangrove Forests and Prevent Die-Offs

Mangroves by Dennis Cromzigt

Target: Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Implement a program to monitor and protect mangrove forests.

Seventy thousand hectares of mangrove forests have been destroyed along the coast of Australia, the largest recorded die-off yet. The culprit is a combination of climate change and El Nino, which have warmed the water so much that the mangroves could no longer survive. Mangroves are important ecological contributors that purify water and act as a barrier for the coastline. Call on Australia’s prime minister to oversee these precious plants and ensure that everything is done to save them.

Mangroves serve a variety of ecological functions including filtration, habitats, and coastline stabilization. Without the mangrove forests the coastline is more vulnerable to storms, tsunamis, and rising sea levels. In addition, species like sea turtles and dugongs rely on the mangroves for their survival. The dugong is already vulnerable to extinction from threats such as loss of sea grass (its food source) and illegal hunting. This species is unique and worth saving, as it is one of the only four sea mammals that subsists almost entirely on plants.

The fate of the mangroves and coastlines after this die-off is still unsure. Though mangroves are adaptable, they cannot react to changes this sudden. The coastline where the mangroves once grew is in danger of long-term erosion. A James Cook University specialist, Norm Duke, stated, “In five or six years’ time when the root material breaks down, the sediment becomes destabilised and no amount of seedling growth will stop the erosion.”

The ecological significance of the mangrove forests makes them an Australian national resource worth monitoring. Urge the prime minister to take the necessary steps to save them.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

Australia’s mangrove forests must be protected.  Seventy thousand hectares of mangroves along the coast have recently been devastated in the most severe die-off in recorded history.  Mangroves serve an important ecological function as a barrier for the coastline and a haven for threatened species. Begin a monitoring program for this crucial resource before it disappears entirely.

Mangroves filter and purify the water, stabilize the ocean, and create a habitat for vulnerable species like the dugong. The dugong is already threatened by the loss of its food source (sea grass) and by illegal hunting. This species is unique, not just for its tourist value, but because it is one of only four primarily plant-eating sea mammals in existence.

The loss of the mangroves could result in long-term erosion of the coastlines they shelter. James Cook University specialist, Norm Duke, said, “In five or six years’ time when the root material breaks down, the sediment becomes destabilised and no amount of seedling growth will stop the erosion.” Sea levels are rising, which makes the coastline unstable. It needs the mangrove forests to keep it from disappearing.

Australia must preserve the mangroves to protect its coastlines. As prime minister, it is your responsibility to implement new programs to save both.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dennis Cromzigt

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