But the original 500000 hectares of mangroves has whittled down to 100000 hectares or less, due to coastal development, land conversion, and reclamation.
Mangroves, trees, or shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats are extremely efficient in sequestering or storing carbon, a base element of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
They store up to 4 times more carbon than tropical rainforests, sequestering 3 to 4 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year. This is equivalent to the carbon emissions of two or 3 vehicles.
In other words, mangroves are crucial in capturing and storing carbon away from the atmosphere, where they would otherwise accumulate and contribute to global warming.
Adding to the gravity of these alarming figures is the fact that the region's mangroves have the highest biodiversity. South East Asia is also home to the most number of mangrove species in the world with 47 out of 70 known species present.
In the Philippines, the original 500,000 hectares of mangroves has whittled down to 100,000 hectares or less, said Pollisco, mainly due to coastal development, land conversion and reclamation.