Last week, the Global Resilience Partnership announced the winners of its Water Window Challenge, in which 12 projects will share $10 million to tackle flooding in vulnerable areas. One of those organizations was Seacology, a nonprofit environmental conservation organization dedicated to preserving the habitats and cultures of islands, which will use the nearly $1 million grant to expand its work to conserve mangroves in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. A partnership between Seacology, the Sri Lankan NGO Sudeesa, and the Sri Lankan government led this island nation to became the first country in the world to comprehensively protect all of its mangrove forests.
“Mangroves are really the unsung heroes of conservation,” Duane Silverstein, the executive director of Seacology, told Devex from his office in Berkeley, California. He said that Sri Lanka could serve as a model for other countries, at a moment when scientific consensus is building about the importance of mangroves — and the international community is acting on that information.
The International Day of Forests is intended to raise awareness of all types of forests, including mangrove forests, which store more carbon per hectare than any other form of forested areas on the planet. They also protect coastal communities and preserve marine ecosystems.