ELAW is pleased to present a selection of laws and policies that regulate mangroves, their use, protection, and conservation around the world.

Mangroves are distributed in the coastal zone of 123 countries, providing important habitat for marine and coastal species, and protecting coastal communities and nearby ecosystems and fauna. These beautiful trees must be protected, but they are at risk due to unsustainable coastal development and pollution. Mangroves provide important ecosystem services, but it has been a great challenge, at the global level, to regulate their protection and sustainable use.

Mangroves are a forest species, distributed in floodplain coastal areas. They have been recognized as priority areas for conservation because they provide breeding grounds and refuge for fish, migratory birds, and other fauna. This species has great value as a climate regulator because they are important carbon sinks, in addition to generating stability in the soil and being a barrier against erosion and hurricanes.

Mangroves compete for territory due to urban development, tourism, shrimp farms, and other economic activities. This has caused a significant loss of mangroves around the world, which has prompted many governments to raise the level of protection of this species in their respective legal frameworks.

Mangroves are regulated with different tools around the world. Some countries have specific regulations for their use as a forest species, while others apply specific restrictions when they are declared Ramsar sites or recognized as Natural Protected Areas. Some countries have even recognized the importance of mangroves as they relate to food, protecting them in fisheries legal frameworks or criminalizing activities that may cause damage and/or deterioration to mangroves.