Apple Invests in Colombian Mangrove Restoration Project in South America

Urbanization and aquaculture destroy many vulnerable habitats, especially endangered mangrove forests. Luckily, Apple has vowed to protect these forests.

Aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions. Aquaculture is also known as aquafarming.

Mangrove tree conservation has become the new frontier for an unlikely company. Apple has vowed to invest in a mangrove restoration project in Colombia, which will hopefully result in a 27,000-acre mangrove forest.

Mangrove forests provide vital ecosystems for many exotic and lesser-known animal species. Their thick network of roots also traps sediment and cleans impurities from the surrounding waters. Directly, they provide homes to thousands of species; indirectly, they function as a cleaning pump for marine life and protect delicate habitats like coral reefs and seagrass beds.

A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. Mangrove is also a term for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics. Mangrove swamps protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge (especially during hurricanes), and tsunamis. The mangroves’ massive root systems are efficient at dissipating wave energy. The carbon captured by living organisms in oceans is stored in the form of biomass and sediments from mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses and potentially algae — known as blue carbon.

The mangrove forests of Colombia face imminent threats from encroaching human populations and illegal aquaculture and logging practices. The balance sustained by the mangroves is under threat of collapsing, which would be disastrous not only for coastal populations that rely on mangroves for nourishment and protection from erratic storms, but also for the environment as a whole. Mangroves sequester huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, storing them for centuries in their thick roots. Mangrove forests are among the most carbon-rich tropical areas in the world, and cutting them down would release those toxins back into their air in huge quantities.

For its 2018 Earth Day campaign, Apple partnered with Conservation International to restore the mangrove forest in Cispatá Bay, Colombia, where researchers collect soil deposits from mangroves to test for stored carbon. They project that the forest will absorb over 1 million metric tons of carbon in its lifetime. In turn, Conservation International’s mangrove restoration project invests in the Blue Carbon Initiative, which focuses on suppressing climate change via conservation and restoration of marine and coastal habitats.

Scientists also work with local sponsors such as the Omacha Foundation and the Invemar Research Institute to incentivize regional communities to help finance these restoration projects. Hundreds of nearby families called mangleros have created their own networks to protect these tremendous habitats.

Apple’s campaign emerged shortly after the tech mogul announced their goal of sustaining their operations with 100% renewable electricity. Apple convinced over 40 of its partners to reach that same goal, and it continuously seeks more ways to recycle products. Hopefully, more wealthy tech companies will participate in the same sort of ground-breaking conservation initiatives that Apple has.








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