Nature Conservation mangrove trees research contribute knowledge on Climate Change

Dr Kuben Naidoo, standing, calibrating the LiCor 6800 IRGA. With him is Trevor Govender

Scientists from the Department of Nature Conservation, through their research, have made a stunning discovery, that the mangrove trees are able to mitigate the effects of CO2 on the ozone layer. Trevor Govender of the department said that the research he and his colleagues, Professor Akash Anandraj and Dr Kuben Naidoo are conducting around the mouths of some of the Durban rivers has shown that mangrove trees act as effective urban carbon sinks (UCS). These trees are important as they capture the highest amount of CO2 from the atmosphere to reduce global warming. “The trees are capable of reducing or even balancing the CO2 emissions generated by the province and the carbon assimilation by the trees,” said Trevor.

Mangrove trees are in Durban’s estuaries. Trevor said that the results and recommendations from their findings indicate that the estuaries need to be populated with mangroves to counteract the effects of climate change. “This is of paramount importance to conservation managers with regards to new strategies for the protection and management of estuaries, and the introduction of new efforts in propagating mangroves in South Africa,” said Trevor.

The research is ongoing and the Nature Conservation research team will publish a paper, titled: “The role of mangrove forests as urban carbon sinks: A case study from the uMgeni estuary, Durban, KZN” on the international journal, Current Climate Change reports (Springer) in October 2020.