Mangrove photo contest winners reveal the majesty of these coastal forests
- From a forest goddess protecting honey collectors to a tiger leaping through mangroves, here are some of the winning images from the 7th Annual Mangrove Photography Awards.
- The annual competition attracted a record number of entries from 65 countries, but the judges ultimately selected the winners who revealed aspects of mangroves from all corners of the earth.
- Mangroves are marine forests that adorn tropical coasts and are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world.
- These forests also play a crucial role in protecting coastlines from erosion and provide communities with resources ranging from food to firewood, and are one of the most efficient carbon sinks in the world.
The seventh annual Mangrove Photography Awards drew a record number of entries from 65 countries, but the judges ultimately selected the winners who revealed aspects of mangroves from all corners of the globe.
Vast and tangled, mangrove forests are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world: they serve as nurseries for fish, rookeries for a myriad of birds, and rich feeding grounds for creatures ranging from crabs with crocodiles and tigers.
One of the most striking images is of a leaping tiger, spectacularly captured by Arijit Das in India. “After four days of stalking the elusive Bengal tiger, we were finally able to predict where this individual might cross a stream. These big cats have adapted to life in mangroves and shade through streams and canals in search of prey, ”Das said.
Mangroves are crucial for protecting coasts from erosion, providing communities with resources such as food and firewood, as well as protection from storms. Mangroves are also one of the most efficient carbon sinks in the biosphere.
Despite their importance and usefulness, mangrove forests are in decline around the world due to multiple challenges, ranging from climate change to coastal development. The rate of loss is slowing, however, except in Asia, where there has been a massive increase in deforestation over the past 30 years.
Reflecting on this year’s nominations, Judge Daisy Gilardini said: “It’s easy to overlook the role mangroves play in a healthy ecosystem. Mangroves not only provide shelter and habitat for many species of birds, mammals, fish and crustaceans. They also help protect and preserve shorelines, filter water, and have an extraordinary capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, five times more than tropical rainforests, for example.
See related: Well-done mangrove restoration has clear economic and ecological benefits
The Mangrove Photography Awards celebrate mangroves each year on World Mangrove Day. This is the idea of - and is organized by – Mangrove Action Project, a conservation NGO working globally to protect, restore and educate the public about mangroves.
See all of this year’s contest winners on her site, here.
Banner image: Early morning in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo by Melodi Roberts.