Conserving and rehabilitating mangroves in the Caribbean

A water forest of Mangroves
Image from The Nature Conservancy
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 26 July 2023

Mangroves are some of the planet’s most unique and vital ecosystems, serving as a natural bridge between land and sea – nurturing biodiversity, supporting economic activity, and capturing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere even more effectively than forests on land.

Mangroves’ tangled roots act as natural nurseries, offering shelter and food to countless fish, birds and reptiles, supporting both marine and human life and playing a crucial role in reducing the risk of devastating floods. However, despite their significance, mangroves face ever-increasing threats. 

Richard Branson in the BVI
Uite BVI

Our foundation, Virgin Unite, alongside Unite BVI, Virgin Voyages and Virgin Limited Edition, is supporting projects and initiatives aimed at conserving and rehabilitating mangroves in the Caribbean. Through collaboration with local communities, organisations, and governments, these Virgin teams are empowering grassroots efforts and helping to protect these precious habitats.

To mark World Mangrove Day, Unite BVI and Virgin Limited Edition have announced their wonderful ‘mangrove eco-tour’, which I was lucky enough to take part in recently. It was an incredible experience, highlighting many of the ways mangrove restoration is taking place in the region. One of my favourite parts was learning about the importance of mangrove restoration to thriving flamingo populations in the BVI. Recent counts of flamingos on Anegada have reached 700!

Richard Branson pointing at the flamingos on Necker Island
Kami White

Necker Island guests now have the opportunity to take a tour through the indigenous mangrove coastline of Beef Island. Beyond highlighting these vital ecosystems to people visiting the beautiful BVI, the tours will also support the BVI National Mangrove Nursery restoration efforts.

Mangroves students in the BVI
Unite BVI

I encourage everyone to follow and support the work of Unite BVI as they continue to preserve and restore mangroves in the region. At the Community College’s Marine Centre, the National Mangrove Nursery project, supported by Unite BVI, has so far resulted in over 3,000 propagules (seedlings) being harvested for planting. It has also hired seven employees, 11 interns, and engaged over 265 students. The Mangrove Boardwalk project is another that's worth celebrating. A walkway devastated in the 2017 hurricanes has been beautifully restored, with additions soon to come including new signage, literary experiences, and summer youth internships.

Mangrove tour
Alex Dick Reid

I’d also like to commend the Well/Beings charity for its ongoing commitment to mangroves in the Caribbean. Their work and partnerships with Virgin Unite and Unite BVI is helping to promote the value of mangroves and the important of acting collectively to ensure their survival.

The projects I’ve mentioned are just the start when it comes to Caribbean-wide mangrove efforts. We’ll share in the coming months how Virgin Unite is supporting efforts across the region, looking at ways to equip communities with the know-how and resources to drive this work forward in years to come.

Necker Island from above
Stacie Hess

This World Mangrove Day let's commit to fostering a more harmonious relationship between humanity and nature and celebrate the wondrous mangroves.