07/25/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/25/2021 14:31
There are 171 hectares of mangrove area covering the small island of Aruba. Larger mangrove areas grow on the southwestern coast and on the reef islands.
The conservation of mangrove ecosystems contributes to sustainable development as they are highly dynamic systems that attract migratory bird species and are home to considerable biodiversity, maintaining the genetic diversity of native species.
The coast is a low-lying area that is prone to flooding. Therefore, mangroves mitigate siltation (accumulation of suspended sediments, such as fine sand, soil, or mud) in the sea by filtering nutrients, chemicals and other particles during floods. These ecosystems also reduce wave action during storm events, which protects ships and critical coastal infrastructure.
Aruba's Directorate of Nature and Environment is responsible for protecting mangroves under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the intergovernmental framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their natural resources. The Spaans Lagoon is one of these protected areas.
Mangrove areas are an important nursery for fish and other marine life. In the Spaans Lagoon system, 190 animal species have been documented by Aruba National Park, as of 2017.
Mangrove systems have the potential to regulate microclimate temperature by reducing the effects of elevated air temperatures. Aruba's mangroves also contribute to climate change mitigation by sequestering blue carbon - that is, the carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Recent scientific studies suggest that the amount of sequestered carbon in Aruba could reach 240 mg. According to one estimate, the economic value of the carbon storage potential of Aruba's mangrove ecosystems has a value of US$ 4363 per year.
This article was made possible with the support of the Directie Natuur en Milieu (the Directorate of Nature and Environment of Aruba) and the Aruba National Commission for UNESCO.