In May 2009 I set out on a two-month “state-of-the-forests” mangrove tour of the Americas. I wanted to document the plight of mangroves in the region and assess the impact of their loss on the thousands of coastal people who rely on these forests for food, shelter and livelihoods. It would be a wide-ranging journey, both in the places I visited—from Florida and the Bahamas to Ecuador and Cuba—and in the people I met: from ecologists studying nutrient pathways in mangrove fauna to activists protesting against the juggernaut of shrimp aquaculture that has been responsible for so much mangrove destruction. I started a blog called “Last Stands” so that people could follow me as I crisscrossed the region, experiencing the unique world of the mangrove forest. These travels provided much of the material for my just-published book, Let Them Eat Shrimp. I invite you to share some of the highlights of my journey in these excerpts from the blog.
I am a biologist by training, so exploring the rich biodiversity of mangrove forests was an important part of my Americas journey. On the north-eastern coast of Brazil, at a place called the Parnaíba Delta, I went in search of one of the most gorgeous birds of the mangroves, the scarlet ibis, a bird so vividly red it looks like it has been dropped in a tub of cochineal. Here’s a description of that trip. . . Read more »
Kennedy Warne co-founded New Zealand Geographic magazine in 1988, and served as the magazine’s editor until 2004, when he relinquished the editorship in order to pursue his own writing and photography. He has written for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Canadian Geographic, GEO and various travel publications, and continues to contribute regularly to New Zealand Geographic. He writes mostly about natural history subjects, and specializes in underwater assignments. His work for National Geographic has taken him from the sea ice of the Gulf of St Lawrence to the mangrove swamps of Bangladesh; from the rainforests of Fiordland to the kelp forests of Cape Town. His book Roads Less Travelled: Twenty Years of Exploration with New Zealand Geographic is published by Penguin (NZ) in September 2008. He lives in Auckland.