Mangrove Report Card for The Bahamas

We did it!!! After years of painstaking research encompassing drones, satellite-based surveys and in-water surveillance from hundreds of different sites, we’re proud to announce the release of the Mangrove Report Card for The Bahamas! This landmark report is a first of its kind assessment on the health of The Bahamas’ incredibly valuable yet often under-appreciated mangrove ecosystems.

So much more than swampy wastelands, Bahamian mangroves are economic and ecological superheroes. They protect homes and infrastructure from tropical storms. They support tremendous biodiversity above and below the water. They fight against climate change by sequestering massive amounts of carbon dioxide. And they provide nursery grounds for this country’s most sought after fishery species, including snappers and groupers.

Along the water’s edge, red mangrove roots provide shelter for the young of many fish and invertebrate species that live on coral reefs as adults.

On the whole, our research shows mangroves are stable and fairly healthy throughout The Bahamas. This is excellent news!

And yet, mangroves have taken a heavy beating in places hard-struck by major hurricanes. For example, Hurricane Dorian had a tremendous impact on the mangroves of Grand Bahama and Abaco. The former lost 22% of its mangroves (nearly 14,000 acres) and the latter lost 14% (nearly 5,500 acres) to the deadly storm. In these areas, restoration is paramount to jump-start mangrove recovery and preserve their intrinsic and extrinsic value to the people of The Bahamas.

A sneak peak of the novel information and data maps you’ll discover inside the mangrove report card. Since the 1950s, many mangrove creeks have been lost or severely diminished in areas where extensive coastal development has taken place. New Providence, for example, has lost 37% of mangrove creek habitats since that time, largely due to clearing of trees, dredging and filling.

We’d like to thank our partners at The Nature Conservancy, Bahamas National Trust, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Waterkeepers Bahamas for backing this enormous and crucial research undertaking. We couldn’t have done this without your support.

PIMS research technician Meghyn Fountain plants a red mangrove tree in East End Grand Bahama. Based on our findings within the report card as well as the tremendous damage caused by Hurricane Dorian, this part of the island will require significant restoration efforts to kick-start its recovery.

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