Public perceptions of mangrove forests matter for their conservation

by Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, Gordon N. Ajonina, A. Aldrie Amir, Dominic A. Andradi-Brown, Carlos M. Duarte,
Opinion article Year: 2020 DOI:


Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Ajonina, G. N., Amir, A. A., Andradi-Brown, D. A., Aziz, I., Balke, T., Duarte, C.M.,... & Friess, D. A. (2020). Public perceptions of mangrove forests matter for their conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science7, 901.


Iconic species and landscapes attract public attention to help reverse the degradation of ecosystems and their biodiversity (Thompson and Rog, 2019); sharing their images on social media can act as a powerful way to influence perceptions and drive positive actions by the public (Wu et al., 2018). Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been used to great effect to communicate the urgency required to halt and reverse tropical forest loss (Lamb et al., 2005) and the plight of coral reefs (Curnock et al., 2019). Ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, mudflats, and mangrove forests receive substantially less media exposure (Duarte et al., 2008). Yet these under-recognized ecosystems are hugely important for local and global societies, providing benefits such as shoreline protection (Barbier, 2016), fisheries (Carrasquilla-Henao and Juanes, 2017), carbon capture and storage (Duarte et al., 2013), alongside supporting rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity (Sievers et al., 2019Thompson and Rog, 2019) (Figure 1). Apart from these important ecosystem functions, goods and services, mangrove forests are home to a huge diversity of organisms with ecologically and evolutionarily unique adaptations to life in the intertidal zone, including vivipary and salt tolerance in trees, air-breathing in crabs and amphibious behavior in fish (mudskippers); this makes mangrove forests a dynamic and fascinating evolutionary laboratory.