Volunteers plant at Dayu Island in China.

Volunteers plant at Dayu Island in China. Credit: China Mangrove Conservation Network

About the China Mangrove Protection Project (Phase V) ReLeaf Project:

Partnering with the China Mangrove Conservation Network, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting 60,000 mangrove trees across 20 acres of China’s Fujian Province to help restore areas of this vital ecosystem.

ReLeaf Location:
Fujian Province, China

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 60,000 mangrove trees across 20 acres.
  • Conducting 150 outreach events in China’s Fujian Province.
  • Restoring mangrove ecosystem.

Why This ReLeaf Project?

Within 50 years, China lost 70 percent of its mangrove forest. With more than 40 percent of this rare ecosystem residing in Asia, this figure is startling. Worldwide, the loss over the last 50 years is estimated at 50 percent.

The China Mangrove Conservation Network is dedicated to mangrove conservation, education and research, hoping to build an involved network of mangrove stewards from local communities, schools, nonprofits and more. Approximately 600 volunteers are helping plant mangroves on Crocodile and Dayu Islands and in Xishan Village. In addition, 100 outreach events are helping spread the message of the importance of mangroves to a larger audience.

Why Mangroves?

Mangrove forests represent less than one percent of the world’s forests, but it’s estimated that they have the capability to store 20 billion metric tons of CO2 — yearly worldwide carbon emissions are estimated to be eight billion metric tons. Beyond carbon storage, mangroves provide unique ecosystem services.

Growing along coastlines within 30 degrees of the equator, mangroves’ unique stilt-like root system that allows the trees to grow in the sea also provides shelter to fish, oysters, crabs and other wildlife, while birds, monkeys, bats, bees and more make their home in the branches. The same root system that provides shelter also protects the shoreline from sediment buildup and erosion, and the trees themselves act as a buffer against natural disasters, protecting the coastline from intense waves.

Much of the mangrove loss over the years is attributed to industrial farming practices and seaside development.