MFF Solutions Environment 940x349

Mangroves sunset © Siriporn Sriaram

Environment, in the ecological senseor “natural environment”, is the external surroundings in which a plant, organism or animal lives, which tends to also influence its development and behavior. The physical conditions, habitat, food supply and other plants and animals are all influential. All coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds are under threat from climate-change and variability; however, the long-term survival and functioning of key ecosystems is crucial for the communities depending on ecosystem services such as provisioning (e.g., timber, fuel wood, and charcoal), regulating (e.g., flood, storm and erosion control; prevention of salt water intrusion), habitat (e.g., breeding, spawning and nursery habitat for commercial fish…

Sustainable management practices build resilience in the dynamics between ecosystems and communities in the the long-term: e.g. the role of mangroves in providing a ‘physical buffer’ against extreme events became clear after the tsunami in 2004. Mangroves are seen to increase resilience to coastal disasters, which are likely to be exacerbated by climate change - both by ‘absorbing’ the wave surges and supporting the ability of communities to recover by providing livelihood opportunities. From an ecosystem perspective, resilience can be considered as the key to biodiversity conservation and is generally recognized that diversity itself enhances resilience, stability and ecosystem functioning. Diverse or species-rich ecosystems have larger gene pools facilitating the emergence of genotypes that are better adapted to variability and changes in the environment.

MFF has been promoting investments in coastal ecosystems as a form of natural infrastructure to support sustainable development using the principle of ‘nature-based solutions’.