The Blue Carbon Series (Mangroves…)

“Mangroves, The Most Amazing Trees”

Book I of the Blue Carbon Series

A local construction worker from the fishing community of Punta Rucia, Dominican Republic, who told me he dreamed of being a marine biologist, helps paint a community conservation mural that I designed and created with funding from the Puntacana Ecological Foundation and Counterpart International.

Mangroves, The Most Amazing Trees” is the first book in the “Blue Carbon Series,” an interactive series of books and accompanying educational resources designed for a wide and diverse audience. The aim of these resources is for my audience to come away passionate and knowledgeable about coastal and marine ecosystems, chiefly in the context of climate change, AND empowered to protect, preserve, and restore them. 

Designed to teach primary school students (grades 5 to 12), college students, and a broad public about the basic biology, ecology, and importance of mangroves and other Blue Carbon Ecosystems, this resource has the ambitious goal of inspiring civic action around the conservation and restoration of coastal and marine habitats. It will include contemporary case studies that reveal the potential for mangrove restoration projects to support sustainable economic activities such as small-scale eco-tourism, aquaculture, and fisheries projects. 

  

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Mangrove ecosystems actively mitigate climate change while functioning as crucial refuges for biodiversity. At the same time, they reduce the compounding threats of coastal erosion, flooding, food insecurity, and disease. While my resource is relevant to global Mangrove Ecosystems, there is a focus on those located in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). This Mexican Sea is famous for its biodiversity, its intertidal life, its rocky reefs, and for a handful of emerald-green mangrove forests that intrude into one of the world’s driest regions – the Sonoran Desert. This is significant because it is precisely the ability to thrive in salty, arid, and unhospitable climates and soils where other plants cannot grow that makes mangroves and other salt-loving plants so amazing. 

In the Gulf of California, once dubbed “The World’s Aquarium” by Jacques Yves Cousteau, mangrove canopy creates a unique habitat for birds and diverse other land animals while mangrove roots form a complex and multi-layered habitat for marine life. These mangrove-nursery-habitats are estimated to support around 32% of the region’s commercial fisheries, which altogether comprise around 70% of all of Mexico’s fisheries (Gulf of California Marine Program). This illustrates how the ecosystem services provided by Mangrove Ecosystems add a crucial social and economic dimension to this topic of learning and exploration. In the global tropics, where all mangroves are found, it is estimated that more than two billion people depend on the goods and services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems.

Blue Carbon, meanwhile, is the carbon naturally sequestered and stored by coastal and marine ecosystems, namely mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and macroalgal forests and beds, primarily kelp forests. By protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing these natural ecosystems, along with the agricultural and urban areas they are connected to, we can actively mitigate climate change by preventing the release of trapped carbon and increasing the amount of carbon these habitats can continue to store. 

My aim for this Series is to help experts, activists, and decision-makers engage with a wide public around saving Blue Carbon Ecosystems – a nature-based solution to climate change that should be a global conservation priority. With around 90% of our Blue Carbon Ecosystems already destroyed, this topic could not be more pressing. Each book in this Series is aimed at raising awareness, inspiring real actions, and promoting. best practices around protection, conservation, restoration, and community-based management, along with international Sustainability Goals such as the Aichi Targets and goals of the RAMSAR Convention on Wetland Conservation. 

This first book of the Blue Carbon Series is around 70% complete and I am seeking the support of publishers and other collaborators.

For inquiries please email me at alanruizberman@gmail.com.