United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all United Nations Member States, to provide a common blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. This is built on a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent set of targets recognized by all countries, which can be achieved through global partnership. These goals recognize that bringing and end to poverty and other deprivations can only be achieved in tandem with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth. But it is crucial that these goals are achieved under the framework of tackling climate change and working to preserve our natural environment. It is up to shareholders to identify initiatives, policies and ecosystems that can help achieve these goals.

Mangrove forests are one such ecosystem that are capable of helping the achievement of several SDGs. Below, you can find information and stories of how mangrove ecosystems are helping achieve SDGs related to poverty, food security, sustainable use, climate change, ecosystem health and water quality.

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Mangrove forests provide sustainable habitat for a wealth of fish and crustacean species. the catching and selling of these provide a low-skilled means of income generation and a means of reducing poverty. Mixed species fisheries are capable of generating US$ 213 per ha per year, enabling towns such as Portland Cottage in Jamaica of generating as much as US$ 54,145. This is only one example of income that can be can be generated by mangrove forests, with others including timber, fuelwood and carbon credits. More information on the societal benefits of mangroves and sources of income in Jamaica can be found here:


Mangroves are able to provide both direct and indirect sources of food and are particularly important along hyper-arid coastlines where vegetation is scarce. Mangroves have higher protein content than other arid vegetation (e.g., acacia) and provide important fodder for livestock, which increases food security in low income and agri-poor regions. Furthermore, mangroves promote aquatic habitats and support crustaceans and fish populations which are important and sustainable sources of protein.The planting of over 600,000 mangroves on the eastern Eritrean coastline can now sustainable provide over 2000 people with sufficient food in what was once an arid and low productive environment. You can find out more about the Manzanar Project that achieved this here:


Mangroves have distinct prop roots that extend out of the water, creating a sub-canopy maze of dense interlocking struts that support the mangrove trees. Beyond plant support, these roots are able to filter nitrates, phosphates and other pollutants out of the water, which improve the quality of water that flows from inland sources into the estuarine environment. In 2016, Guanabara Bay was chosen as the location for the sailing events of the Rio Olympics in Brazil. But without basic sanitation for just under half of Rio's households, raw sewage was able to flow freely into the bay. 35 ha of mangrove restoration in the bay, act as a natural sewage water treatment center, working with other initiatives to clean the bay in time for the Olympic games and providing the best long-term prospect for the health of the bay. The full story can be found here.


Across Kenya an estimated 40% of mangrove has been degraded. However at The Lamu archipelago, conservation organizations and women’s groups have embarked on a project that offers women loans to open small businesses, from which they can qualify for larger loans. As part of this, the women's groups are able to undergo training on mangrove restoration and conservation, learning how, where, and when to plant mangroves. In addition, members of the Mtangawanda Mangrove Restoration Women Group are also able to venture into other businesses such as controlled mangrove harvesting which provides construction materials, which can be sold. Mangrove restoration has brought the recovery of marine breeding grounds while members look to start a carbon credit project, which will bring additional sources of income. More information on the project is here.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

The Matang mangrove forest is Malaysia is a textbook example of responsible consumption and production through the sustainable use of mangrove forests. The forest has been selectively harvesting trees on 30 year cropping cycles, which are then heated in kilns to make charcoal, which are used for a variety of purposes, such as rudimentary filters and fuel. This forest has been harvested in this since the beginning of the 20th century, thus the continued practices today which provide local products and income, are testament to the benefits of sustainable forest use.

SDG 13: Climate action

Mangrove forests are among the most carbon rich ecosystems in the whole of the tropics. They have large aboveground biomass values, reach as much as 910 tons of biomass per hectare, but their real carbon storing ability in in their soils. Here, in this waterlogged environment, leaf litter and other detritus doesn't break down easily. This prevents the carbon held in this organic matter from escaping as carbon dioxide and it is instead trapped and held in the sediment. Mangroves are therefore a nature based solution to climate change, capable of taking carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away

sdg 14: life below water

The tangle of interlocking submerged mangrove roots are the perfect habitat to a range of aquatic species of fish and crustaceans. These species are attracted to mangrove forests because of the high availability of food, their cooler waters which have a higher oxygen content and the habitat and security that can be found among the root systems. This security makes them ideal nursery habitats for juvenile fish, with critically endangered goliath groupers only venturing out when they reach a size of 1 m in length. Mangroves are therefore a critical component of the life cycle of these species, with the quantity of mangrove being directly linked to the quantity and numbers of fish species found. The support of these ecosystems has impacts for the fishing industry and ties in directly to local incomes.

SDG 15: Life on land

The Sundarbans mangrove forest, is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world. It is located on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers On the India/Bangladesh border. India’s Sundarbans were designated a World Heritage site in 1987. The area is known for supporting a wide range of biodiversity, including niche species such as the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Sundarbans is one of only a handful of remaining forests big enough to hold several hundred tigers, with estimates of up to 500 tigers living in among the mangroves. the forest supports a wide range of biodiversity including several species of mammals and reptiles and at least 200 species of bird, including threatened species such as the lesser adjutant and endemic species such as the brown-winged kingfisher.