Protecting and rehabilitating critical habitat is key to the health of our natural eco-systems. Mangroves play a plethora of incredibly important roles and are therefore a key habitat Unite BVI has decided to invest in rehabilitating and protecting in the BVI.
- FILTERING CAPABILITIES: The dense and intricate root systems of mangroves provide a natural filter from erosian due to rainwater runoff on land, protecting coral from dirt and silt that can otherwise causes death and decay.
- NURSERIES FOR OUR JEUVENILE MARINE LIFE: Mangroves are often referenced by marine scientists as the nurseries for the ocean's jeuvenile marine species. Without healthy mangroves, jeuvenile species do not have a safe place to hide while they are most vulnerable to predators. The loss of mangrove habitat affects the ocean's ecosystem health in devastating ways.
- PROTECTIVE HABITAT FOR BIRDS: Similarly, mangroves roots and leaves provide protective habitat for a wide variety of sea birds and other land-based coastal species. Many birds nest and breed in mangrove habitats.
- CARBON CAPTURE: Studies indicate that, pound for pound, mangroves can sequester four times more carbon than rainforests can, making them incredibly important agents in the fight against global warming and climate change.
- COASTAL RESILIENCE: Mangroves are one of the greatest forms of coastal protection for communities that have been built in low laying areas. Their strong root system and (when healthy) dense sheer geographic area they cover can not only protect coastal communities but also provides "Hurricane Holes" where boats can seek protection during storms. Beyond just the protection they offer to humans and human assets, many marine species, sea birds and coastal animals seek refuge in mangroves during storms. Without them, loss of life during extreme weather events can set the health of species populations back by years.
In 2017 the BVI was struck by the strongest Hurricane to ever cross the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma. This category 5 hurricane left catastrophic devastation including the destruction of estimated 90% of the BVI's remaining mangrove population.
This is why Unite BVI has partnered with The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour and The HLSCC (Community College) to scale the great work that the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society has been doing to start mangrove nurseries and outplanting programmes around the BVI.