3.8.16 | Prof. Dr. Martin Zimmer, head of the work group Mangrove Ecology at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) has been appointed as a new member of the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group.

He is now one of 50 experts lending their support to the conservation of mangroves in the name of the IUCN. Since 1962 the global organisation has issued the internationally renowned annual Red List of Threatened Species. Counting more than 1,000 organisations and institutions from 161 countries amongst its members the IUCN has more than 16,000 experts working for it to assess the status of global natural resources.

The IUCN SCC Mangrove Specialist Group as founded three years ago to bring together mangrove experts to share their knowledge, to evaluate the status of mangroves, to identify and prioritise threats to develop plans to conserve the most endangered species and their habitats.

“Mangrove ecosystems are highly undervalued in general public perception, although they provide incredibly important ecosystem services,” explains Martin Zimmer. “To give only one example, they store vast quantities of carbon and nitrogen which contributes immensely to climate protection. Nonethless, every year up to two per cent of the mangrove forest worldwide are lost due to deforestation.“

Hence, the IUCN’s mangrove experts not only want to work for the protection of singular threatened species, but more so aim to campaign for the conversation of the mangrove ecosystem as a whole. They are also planning to issue a position paper to take a stand against the deforestation of mangroves to grow oil palm plantations.

“As a new member of the IUCN SCC Mangrove Specialist Group it will be my call to actively engage in outreach and networking with mangrove researchers worldwide in order to further strengthen mangrove conservation in the future,” says Martin Zimmer.