People living in coastal zones, like the woman and child pictured, depend on mangrove forests for their livelihoods and household needs. Mangroves protect nursery habitats for freshwater and marine species, provide a source of income from tourism, and supply timber for construction. Mangroves also store more carbon per unit area than any other major forest type in Guatemala — equivalent to nearly 900 tons per hectare. However, mangroves currently occupy less than 30 percent of their original extent nationally and declined by more than 25 percent between 2010 and 2016. During the dry season, mangroves are susceptible to fire from illegal land clearing, while they are permanently threatened by sugar cane plantations and shrimp farms. USAID’s Guatemala Biodiversity project works with the National Council of Protected Areas, local authorities, and rural communities to protect mangrove forests by preventing and controlling forest fires and monitoring forest cover. The project generates weekly monitoring reports on fire status and climatological information that is used to prevent and control fire. They are also helping community members establish guidelines to create a new governance model for a multiple-use protected area.