Meet the winners of the Mangrove Photography Awards 2023

Mangrove Action Project

Meet the winners of the Mangrove Photography Awards 2023

Meet the winners of the Mangrove Photography Awards 2023 2391 1157 Ocean Decade

Explore the 46 winning shots from the Mangrove Photography Awards 2023, hosted by the Mangrove Action Project.

This year’s awards have been one of the most diverse yet, with over 2,000 entries from 72 nations around the world, showcasing the beauty and global significance of mangrove ecosystems. Soham Bhattacharyya has been crowned Mangrove Photographer of the Year with his image, ‘The Finest “Flower” of the Mangroves’, a special shot that captures the curious gaze of a young, endangered tigress in the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve. In addition, winners have been selected in 6 categories – People, Landscape, Underwater, Threats, Wildlife, and Stories (a portfolio category) – while photographers under the age of 24 competed to become the Young Mangrove Photographer of the Year.


Mangrove Photographer of the Year

The Finest “Flower” of the Mangroves by Overall Winner – Soham Bhattacharyya, India

‘The Finest “Flower” of the Mangroves’ captures a heart-warming image of a young Royal Bengal tigress through the mangrove bushes of a fragile natural wonder.

“The solitary figure of the tiger, standing amidst the lush green mangrove forest vegetation, poignantly underscores the isolation it must endure in an ever-shrinking habitat”, said judge Daisy Gilardini.


Mangroves & Landscape

Emerging Roots by Winner – Cristiano Martins Xavier, Brazil

Mangrove roots emerge from shallow water deep inside a mangrove forest. Brazil is home to extensive mangrove ecosystems along its coastline, with approximately 7% of the world’s mangrove area. Like in many parts of the world, mangroves face threats from deforestation, pollution, and climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels.

“As the low tide allowed me to walk through the trees, I saw this scene where the roots were partially submerged. I decided to use the long exposure technique to soften the surface of the water and transform the photo into black and white to give the scene a sinister look.”


Mangroves & Wildlife

Hiding in Plain Sight by Winner – Chien Lee, Colombia

In the mangrove forest of Colombia’s Utría National Park, a Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) is nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding branches while it perches motionless on its nest.

“As I didn’t want to risk disturbing the Potoo into flight, I photographed it with a long telephoto lens some distance away and partially obscured by the branches of intervening mangrove trees. It was only after looking through the lens that I realized there was actually a single egg.”


Mangroves & Threats

The Theatre of Plastic by Winner – Emanuele Biggi, Malaysia

A land hermit crab wanders around at night, close to the beach of Pom Pom island, Sabah, using a plastic deodorant plug instead of a shell.

“Pom Pom island is a violated paradise, where the small island and its coral reef are continuously raped by tons of plastic material coming from nearby Bornean shores, especially from Semporna city. When I found this poor hermit crab… I knew I found my sad ambassador for this terrible human problem.”


Mangroves & Underwater

A Lemon’s Life by Winner – Anita Kainrath, Bahamas

A juvenile lemon shark swims in shallow mangrove forests in the Bahamas. Lemon sharks are probably the most understood sharks in the world, thanks to over 30 years of studies by Bimini Shark Lab.

“Lemon sharks spend their first 4-6 years in shallow waters where mangrove forests protect them from bigger predators. They build friendships with other juvenile sharks and learn how to hunt. They are absolutely gorgeous, smart, curious and clumsy. Mangroves build a perfect ecosystem and are their nursery and for so many other species.”


Mangroves & People

Séphora the Clam Diver by Winner – Kris Pannecoucke, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Between river, sea and land, the Mangrove Marine Park, a fragile nature reserve in Bas-Congo, is the kingdom of turtles, manatees and women who harvest clams.

“The Mangrove Marine Park is a veritable maze of islands and channels. Women like Séphora dive up to four metres for clams. They sell skewers with clam meat in the cities of Muanda and Boma. Entire islands, like Kimwabi where Séphora lives, are built on empty shells.”


Mangroves & Conservation Stories

The Blue Fig by Winner – Mohammad Rakibul Hasan, Bangladesh

The Sundarbans, which means “beautiful forest”, is one of the most vulnerable areas in the country to the impacts of climate change. It is one of the wildest places left on Earth: a biodiversity hotspot and a complex tidal network of waterways and islands that is only accessible by boat. It is a delicate ecosystem that is under pressure from human development and the climate crisis, which is threatening the ecology of the Sundarbans.


Young Mangrove Photographer of the Year

Eye Contact by Winner – Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn, Thailand

A baby Golden-spotted Mudskipper snapped on the edge of a mangrove in Samut Sakorn province, Thailand. Mudskippers are an amphibious fish and can use their pectoral fins to “walk” on land.

View the images of the Mangrove Photography Awards 2023 runners-up by clicking here, and explore the entire collection of 2,210 entries in the mangrove gallery.


The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030:

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and partners covers terrestrial as well as coastal and marine ecosystems. A global call to action, it will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration. Learn more here.

The UN Decade of Ocean Science 2021-2030:

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), led by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, aims to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean. Learn more here.

The Mangrove Photography Awards:

Mangrove Action Project just announced the winners of its annual Mangrove Photography Awards. The competition invited photographers of all levels around the world to contribute their images to celebrate the beauty and diversity of mangrove forests and inspire action to conserve them. Today, less than half the world’s original mangrove forests remain, and it has never been more important to promote the conservation of these fragile ecosystems through inspiring photography. These powerful images are a compelling reminder of the vital role mangroves play and inspire us to protect them for future generations. Learn more here.


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





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