Under-represented wetland types in the Ramsar "List of Wetlands of International Importance"


Mangroves and the Ramsar Convention

For more than 30 years, the Ramsar Convention has been the principal instrument for international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Adopted in Iran in 1971, it was the first of the modern global conservation treaties, and is still the only one dedicated to a particular ecosystem type. Parties to the Convention have committed themselves to designating all of their "suitable wetlands", based upon criteria developed over the years, for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the "Ramsar List") and maintaining their ecological character through management planning for their conservation and sustainable use.


Mangrove swamps are forested intertidal ecosystems that occupy sediment-rich sheltered tropical coastal environments, occurring from about 32ºN (Bermuda) to almost 39ºS (Victoria, Australia). Around two-thirds to three-quarters of tropical coastlines are mangrove-lined. Mangroves carry out critical functions related to the regulation of fresh water, nutrients, and sediment inputs into marine areas. By trapping and stabilizing fine sediments they control the quality of marine coastal waters. They are also exceptionally important in maintaining coastal food webs and populations of animals that live as adults elsewhere and depend upon the mangrove at different stages of their life cycle, such as birds, fish, and crustaceans. Mangroves have an important role in pollution control through their absorptive capacity for organic pollutants and nutrients, and they play an important role in storm protection and coastal stabilization.

A large proportion of the world's mangrove resource has been degraded by unsustainable exploitation practices; habitat destruction; changes in hydrology due to stream diversions for irrigation and dam construction; and pollution, including industrial and sewage effluents and chronic or catastrophic oil spills. Mangroves are particularly vulnerable to oil pollution and increased coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and natural events such as hurricanes, frosts, tsunamis, and human-induced climate change.

Mangroves occur under Marine/Coastal Wetlands: I (Intertidal forested wetlands) in the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type.

The Ramsar Secretariat's lead person on mangrove issues is Margarita Astrálaga, astralaga@ramsar.org.

Wetlands of International Importance ("Ramsar Sites") with significant mangrove components.

Ramsar Resolutions and Recommendations most directly related to mangroves

Resolution VIII.4Principles and guidelines for incorporating wetland issues into Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
Resolution VIII.11Additional guidance for identifying and designating under-represented wetland types as Wetlands of International Importance
Resolution VIII.32 Conservation, integrated management, and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems and their resources

Other mangrove-related links

Pacific Island Mangroves in a Changing Climate and Rising Sea. UNEP, 2006 (PDF)
Draft “Principles for a Code of Conduct for the Management and Sustainable Use of Mangrove Ecosystems”, World Bank
Mangrove Action Project
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
United Nations Forum on Forests
Coral Reefs and Mangroves of the World (WCMC)
Global Mangrove Database & Information System (GLOMIS)
Mangrove restoration Web site (R. Lewis)
International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME)
"The Status of Mangrove Ecosystems: Trends in the Utilisation and Management of Mangrove Resources", D. Macintosh and S. Zisman

News and Other Items on the Ramsar Web site
(reverse chronology)

Teachers' workshop on mangrove ecology, Guatemala, April 2006
Capacity building in mangrove-based communities in Kenya, project report, July 2005
Ramsar regional advice on the World Bank's Mangrove Code of Conduct, Regional meeting for the Americas, Mexico, November 2004
Handbook of Mangroves in the Philippines - Panay, published 2004
International Symposium on Conservation and Wise Use of Mangroves in Southeast Asia, Brunei Darussalam, 6-8 October 2003 (reported by Reiko Nakamura)
Government-designated Expert Workshop on Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean, Managua, Nicaragua, 3-5 March 2003 (reported by Margarita Astrálaga)
The Role of the Ramsar Convention in Mangrove Management”, Peter R. Bacon, reprint from Intercoast Network: International Newsletter of Coastal Management (1997)
The Mangrove Action Project, Alfredo Quarto & Kate Cissna (1997)
Community Participation in Mangrove Forest Management and Rehabilitation in Southern Thailand, Paul Erftemeijer & Rebecca D'Cruz (1997)
The mangrove forest: background paper, Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project (1997)
"The Sundarbans", Zakir Hussain, case study in Wetlands, Biodiversity and the Ramsar Convention (1996)
"Mangroves of Hinchinbrook Island", Joanna Ellison, case study in Wetlands, Biodiversity and the Ramsar Convention (1996)
"Sustainable management of mangroves in the Indus Delta, Pakistan", Peter John Meynell & M. Tahir Qureshi, case study in Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands (1993)

"Wise use and restoration of mangrove and marine resources in the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines", Lyndo Villacorta & Jeroen C.J. van Wetten, case study in Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands (1993)

"The mangrove forests of Sierpe, Costa Rica", Enrique Lahmann, case study in Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands (1993)

Wetlands of International Importance ("Ramsar Sites") with significant mangrove components

Adobe PDF formatNo. Sites
Ramsar Sites in which Intertidal Forested Wetlands (type I) -- including mangrove swamps -- are significantly present182

(The above list is current as of August 2006.)

For detailed and up-to-date information on Ramsar Sites, use the Ramsar Sites Information Service search facilities on the Ramsar Sites Database (http://www.wetlands.org/rsis/) maintained by Wetlands International.

Adobe PDF format
Mangrove projects supported by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat

(The above list is current as of February 2006.)

Additional background

About the List of Wetlands of International Importance
The Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance
Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List
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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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