If the current rate of loss (about 2% each year) continues, mangroves could be extinct in 100 years, a recent study found.
The study also found that more than 40 percent of a sample of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds that are restricted to mangrove ecosystems are globally threatened with extinction. They also found that these mangrove-restricted species and subspecies are concentrated in Asia and Australia.
Between the early 1980s and 2001, between 19 and 35 percent of the world's mangrove forest area was lost or degraded through coastal development, overexploitation, pollution, and changes in sea level and salinity.
Only 27 of the terrestrial vertebrates that are dependent on mangroves have been assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), and 13 of those are classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List. The study's authors urge research aimed at predicting how continuing changes to mangrove forests are likely to affect the species found there: such information could guide attempts to conserve these specialized ecosystems.
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