Harnessing Big Data to Support the Conservation and Rehabilitation of Mangrove Forests Globally

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 22 May 2020
Worthington T.A., Andradi-Brown D.A., Bhargava R., Buelow C., Bunting P., Duncan C. et al.

Mangrove forests are found on sheltered coastlines in tropical, subtropical, and some warm temperate regions. These forests support unique biodiversity and provide a range of benefits to coastal communities, but as a result of large-scale conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, and urbanization, mangroves are considered increasingly threatened ecosystems. Scientific advances have led to accurate and comprehensive global datasets on mangrove extent, structure, and condition, and these can support evaluation of ecosystem services and stimulate greater conservation and rehabilitation efforts. To increase the utility and uptake of these products, in this Perspective we provide an overview of these recent and forthcoming global datasets and explore the challenges of translating these new analyses into policy action and on-the-ground conservation. We describe a new platform for visualizing and disseminating these datasets to the global science community, non-governmental organizations, government officials, and rehabilitation practitioners and highlight future directions and collaborations to increase the uptake and impact of large-scale mangrove research. This Perspective reviews the role of global-scale research in stimulating policy action and on-the-ground conservation for mangrove ecosystems. We outline the current state of knowledge in terms of global analyses and examine the challenge of translating this research in action.