One in six mangrove species worldwide are in danger of extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned Friday.

The Swiss-based ecological agency has included 11 out of 70 mangrove species on its Red List of Threatened Species.

Mangroves are vital to coastal communities, as they guard against damage from tsunami waves, erosion and storms, and support coastal sea life.

Ecologists warned that the economic and environmental consequences would be “devastating” if the species were to disappear.