18 Jul 2006

UN report says Pacific mangroves wetlands endangered

8:51 am on 18 July 2006

A United Nations report says global warming could lead to the destruction of more than half the mangrove wetlands of some Pacific islands, wiping out or reducing marine breeding grounds that support multi-million dollar fisheries.

The report says the worst hit Pacific islands would be American Samoa, Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia.

It says these countries could lose more than half their mangroves by the end of the century.

Report coordinator, Kitty Simonds, says mangroves are important nurseries for fish, act to filter coastal pollution and are important sources of timber and construction materials for local communities.

Mangroves also protect islands from flooding during storms.

They are estimated to reduce wave energy by 75 percent.

The report calls for a reduction in pollution from land-based sources to make existing mangroves more healthy and resilient to rising seas caused by a warming atmosphere.