The Mangrove Action Project have launched their 7th annual Mangrove Photography Awards! The awards illustrate the importance and diversity of life in our mangrove forests. And engage wider audiences in mangrove issues and stories, while inspiring people to take conservation action.
The awards offer a chance for photographers, both amateur and professional, to raise their voices for the protection of these critical and often undervalued ecosystems. And with over half of mangrove forests already gone, mangroves urgently need our help to recover and thrive.
Commenting on the awards, one of last year’s judges, Cristina Mittermeier (an award-winning photographer herself) said, “Through impactful imagery and visual storytelling, we can rally people to action, sparking empathy and connection to our natural world.”
This year, judges and ambassadors include world renowned photographers and conservationists; Robert Irwin, Dhritiman Mukherjee, Charlie Hamilton James, Octavio Aburto, Christian Ziegler, Daisy Gillardini and Mac Stone.
Do you have a photograph that has the power to raise the profile of mangroves and inspire conservation action? If yes, then submit your image by 17 July by clicking here. Entries are welcome from both amateur and professional photographers, in any age group.
There are so many interesting and surprising stories within mangrove forests. Here we take a look at a few, found within previous years’ awards categories.
Mangroves & Landscape
Mangrove forests show incredible diversity across different countries and even regions. In Mexico, there are mangroves in various regions of the country. Each of these regions contain their own unique beauty, ecosystems, and habitats. For example, the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), grows up to 3 metres high in the tropical region, while the same species grows up to 40 metres high in the Pacific region.
Read about the diversity of Mexico’s mangroves
Mangroves & Wildlife
Mangroves are a crucial link between land and sea, providing a unique habitat that is crucial for many species. Last year’s winning photo (Once Again Being a Mother) showed a relationship few people have ever seen. The image of a female jaguar (called Janis) in an intimate moment with one of her cubs. Under the cover of the mangrove canopies, jaguars here have developed a unique diet. They feed on a wide variety of prey, from crabs and turtles to birds and even crocodiles. Sadly, Janis was killed after being hit by a car on a road close to her territory, illustrating the need for tighter protection to continue to preserve these animals.
Read the story behind last year’s winning image
Mangroves & Threats
The global demand for cheap shrimp is fuelling much of the destructive activity towards mangroves. In the past, industrial shrimp farming had posed one of the greatest threats to mangrove forests and caused over 35 percent of its loss. But the good news is that shrimp farming is slowly becoming more sustainable.
Read about the Vanishing Villages of Indonesia
Mangroves & People
In 1998, El Salvador was still suffering from 17-years of political turmoil and civil war, when the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, Hurricane Mitch, nearly wiped out the remaining mangroves on its southern coast. A community alliance group came together and connected the areas of damaged mangroves to the sea, by rebuilding canals and natural waterways to restore water flow. As the tides rise, they carry mangrove seeds through the newly created canals and trenches. Compared to other planting efforts, this ‘natural regeneration’ is more effective resulting in a more biodiverse, resilient, and productive mangrove forest.
Read about the Community-led Mangrove Restoration in El Salvador
Mangroves & Underwater
Mangroves tend to be areas where muddy sediments accumulate and are characterised by murky waters. But in a few special places like the Bahamas, the crystal-clear waters during high tide give perfect conditions for exploring this unique underwater world and its mysterious inhabitants such as lemon sharks. And after 30 years of being studied, these are probably the best understood sharks in the world. For example, we now know that mature females return to the same mangrove nursery that they were born in to have their own young.
Read more about the lemon sharks of Bimini
Mangroves & Youth
Connecting children to our natural world is vital for our health, and the health of our planet. In the Cayman Islands, a Mangrove Rangers program has been established to protect the Islands’ remaining mangrove forests. The program trains young Caymanians to protect the mangroves and helps create an environmentally sound future for the islands. And after learning all things mangroves, the rangers work to educate and enable students, teachers, and local communities to understand the importance of these incredible ecosystems.
Read about the Cayman Mangrove Rangers
Inspired? Then enter this year’s Mangrove Photography Awards today!