Updated 9:52 am, Monday, September 29, 2014
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — U.N. experts are warning that the world’s mangrove forests are being destroyed at a more rapid rate than other forest ecosystems because of land conversion, development and pollution.
A U.N. Environment Program report presented Monday said mangroves are disappearing three to five times faster than other forests. It said by 2050, southeast Asia could potentially lose 35 percent of the mangroves it had in 2000.
Described in the report as one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems, mangrove forests mitigate global warming by trapping vast quantities of carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
UNEP officials and scientists are holding a three-day conference in Athens, seeking solutions to major marine environmental problems such as the accumulation of plastic debris in the seas, collapsing fish stocks and ocean acidification.