Mangroves are very weird plants; in between land and water, they are very mysterious. Mangroves cannot be found everywhere; they are located in Africa, Australia, and between Florida and Argentina.
Mangroves are salt-tolerant as they can be found on the coastline and also thrive in muddy waters. These places have the richest soil and a lot of food available for fish. That’s why they are habitats for many specimens to procreate and protect new species from larger predators. Birds such as pelicans and herons often touch down from above, and on the Galapagos Islands, even penguins live among the twisted roots; everyone got their share when it comes to mangroves.
What Are Mangroves?
Mangroves come in over 80 distinct varieties. All of these trees thrive in low-oxygen soils where fine sediments can collect due to slow-moving streams. Due to its inability to tolerate cold conditions, mangrove forests can only be found around the equator in tropical and subtropical latitudes. The dense tangle of prop roots that make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water distinguishes many mangrove forests. Because of this tangle of roots, the trees are able to withstand the regular rise and fall of the tides, which means that most mangroves are inundated at least twice a day.
Importance Of Mangroves
Mangroves are good breeding habitats for many types of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other shellfish across the world. As youngsters, several fish species such as barracuda, tarpon, and snook seek refuge among the mangrove roots, then go out to forage on the seagrass beds as they mature. As adults, they move into the open ocean. According to estimates, seventy-five percent of commercially harvested fish spend time in mangroves or rely on food webs that can be traced back to these coastal forests.
Each acre of mangrove forest produces tons of leaves, which form the foundation of an enormously productive food web. Invertebrates and algae benefit from the breakdown of the leaves because they give nutrients. These little invertebrates all feed birds, sponges, worms, anemones, jellyfish, shrimp, and baby fishes. Tides also transport nutrients across mudflats, estuaries, and coral reefs, nourishing seabed-dwelling animals like oysters.
The saltwater and freshwater environments that mangroves cross are both protected. The intricate root systems of mangroves filter nitrates and phosphates carried to the sea by rivers and streams, and they also prevent interior streams from being infringed upon by saltwater.
Many of the resources on which coastal communities rely for survival and livelihood are found in mangrove forests. At low tide, individuals can pick clams, shellfish, and shrimp by walking across the tidal flats. Fish migrate in to dine within the protection of mangrove roots during high tide, transforming the marshy region into a productive fishing field. Mangrove trees supply fuel, medicines, tannin, and timber for the construction of houses and boats.
Mangroves are seen as endangered species; various species are in danger of extinction. Out of 70 species, 11 have been placed on a red list. Mangroves are very important for coastal communities; they protect them from natural disasters like tsunami, storms, or erosion. Approximately 40 % of mangroves have been lost during the past 30 years, and a complete loss of mangroves will be a disaster for the ecosystem.
Different groups are dedicated to the restoration of mangroves. Most of them are collecting and planting mangroves to prevent the complete extinction of a species; they involve the locals in the conservation projects by giving proper training on the importance of mangroves. In a nutshell, they grow, care, and monitor the mangroves themselves and educate others on the topic.
Mangroves are very important for the ecosystem; let us know what you think in the comments below…