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The Magic of Mangrove Ecosystems

Havens of biodiversity that fight climate change.

“Protecting mangroves and restoring damaged ones also helps combat climate change through carbon sequestration as they are some of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet, storing on average 1,000 tonnes of carbon per hectare in their biomass and underlying soils.”
UN Environment Programme

Mangroves are one of the most unique trees on the planet, achieving incredible social and environmental impact. Beyond high levels of carbon sequestration, their presence directly supports the well-being of many other organisms, including humans, plants, and animals.

Mangroves provide habitats and nurseries for more than 1,500 species, while creating strong barriers that protect coastal villages against natural disasters like storms and tsunamis.


“Mangroves are quite incredible; they are able to live in a hostile environment while creating vibrant ecosystems.” —Emilia d’Avack Thomas, Global Ecosystem Lead, PUR

To support coastal ecosystems while mitigating climate change, mangrove restoration is a sustainable and cost-effective strategy. There are many key benefits of actively cultivating mangrove forests, including:

Benefits for Local Communities:

  • Coastal Protection: Providing a natural barrier that limits coastal erosion and reduces the impacts of natural disasters on the coastline.
  • Improved Water Quality: Filtration of excess nutrients and sediments from agricultural production.
  • Sustainable Economies for Villagers: Generating opportunities for sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture, by creating resilient ecosystems that support aquatic life.

Benefits for Ecosystems:

  • Haven of Aquatic Biodiversity: A place of nesting, feeding, and reproduction for many species of fish, molluscs, and crustaceans.
  • Habitats for Endangered Animals: Many different animals live in mangrove branches, such as monkeys and birds. This includes the pygmy three-toed sloth, which is ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List.
  • Powerful Carbon Sink: Sequestering up to 5 times more carbon per hectare than mature tropical forests; with half of it occurring below ground.

Yet for all of their benefits, mangroves are often unappreciated in their natural environment. Typically found in equatorial climates across Asia, Africa, and South America, these coastal forests are not always valued by local communities—who may cut down mangroves for traditional economic activities, such as industrial development, timber harvesting, and shrimp farming.



In Southeast Asia, PUR works directly with local communities to restore coastal ecosystems, planting more than 1,000,000 mangroves since 2018. One of our effective planting models incorporates silvofishery — which creates a healthy environment for aquatic animals to thrive, while also meeting the needs of mangroves and people.

To create a silvofishery system, PUR’s experts design a pond with an “access canal” for fishers to safely enter into the area as mangroves are being established. This allows local communities to fish for their catch, while maintaining a strong ecosystem that enables aquatic animals to successfully find food and breed.

As one of the main drivers of deforestation is shrimp and fish farming, silvofishery facilitates a balanced approach to secure the long-term sustainability of mangroves — contributing to fishers’ economic and livelihood needs, while preserving vital ecosystems at the same time.




As an impact company, PUR recognizes that to achieve sustainability in our projects, we must create alignment between environmental benefits and the livelihood needs of communities.

Importantly, this involves awareness-raising activities to highlight the major benefits of mangroves for local ecosystems, fish supply, and the safety of villages against natural disasters. Leveraging best practices for community engagement, PUR is actively developing programs on how to generate income through sustainable management of mangroves—ensuring that they are seen as a valuable natural resource to be protected for the long-term future.

Major community events, such as planting ceremonies, are designed to motivate involvement and support the permanence of project outcomes. This involves teaching youth how to sustainably harvest medicines, fruits, and bark for sale in local markets, helping to pass this unique knowledge onward through multiple generations.

In Thailand, PUR’s Thamma Raksa project—which translates to “Nature is the Remedy”—has been actively planting mangroves since 2018.

A key initiative of this project involves replanting mangroves with coastal communities, supporting and amplifying the restoration initiatives launched ten years ago by volunteer fisherfolk. Thamma Raksa aims to mitigate coastal erosion, regenerate ecosystems, enhance food security, and sequester carbon, while also improving the safety of residents from flooding during the monsoon season.

Learn more about the impact of PUR’s Thamma Raksa project in Thailand.


Ted Killin

Nov 22, 2023


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