Huge areas of mangrove have been lost, especially in southeast Asia and most parts of southern Africa, due to wood extraction, conversion to agriculture, (cash crops), coastal aquaculture and salt production, coastal industrialization and urbanization. Shrimp farming has caused large scale losses of mangrove habitats. In Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Malaysia the mangroves are destroyed for mining for tin and other minerals. Illegal dumping, beach re-nourishment, oil spill, agricultural run-off that contains herbicides, pesticides, and sugar cane wastes. Man-made canal systems alter fresh water run-off changing salinity levels and lowering the water table. Mangroves are destroyed as rivers are damned and their waters diverted. Fuelwood and charcoal production for domestic cooking and fish curing remains the most extensively used mangrove wood commodity.
Approximately one-fourth of the world's tropical coastline is dominated by mangroves and they extend over 15.5 million ha world-wide. Indo-Pacific – 6.9m ha; Americas – 4.1m ha; Africa =–3.5m ha.
Hurricane Donna, in 1960, damaged an area of 100,000 acres of the Mangrove zone of South Florida. 60 percent of shallow water open mangroves in the Upper Keys, Florida were lost between 1965 and 1985. 40 percent of that was due to dredging and filling of Mangroves. A total of 430,000 - 500,000 acres of mangrove were lost during this period in all of Florida.
In most areas of the world, mangrove formations have simply been exploited with little or no attempt to manage the resource on a sustainable basis. The development of aquaculture represents a major threat to mangrove ecosystems.