Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees or shrubs that are extremely important to the marine environment and people as well, just like coral reefs. They provide shelter to a lot of juvenile fish species and invertebrates such as corals and sponges and grow along tropical shorelines around the world. Above water, mangroves become habitat for many birds, monkeys and a lot of other animals.
Below are the other reasons why mangroves are important.
There are so many farmers and fishers in rural communities that depend on natural environment to provide for their families. When mangrove ecosystems are healthy, it equates to healthy fisheries to catch fishes and healthy land to farm.
As mentioned in the outset, mangroves become home to many animals whether underwater or above the water. Many fishes and shellfishes, migratory birds and sea turtles make mangroves their nesting and breeding habitats. In fact, in the mangrove forests in the Bay of Jiquilisco in El Salvador, there are at least 2 crocodiles, 3 bivalve, 12 amphibian species and many other animals that are now endangered.
Mangroves provide protection for so many coastal communities. Its dense root systems help stabilizes the coastline and defends the coast from erosion from waves and storms. There are even severe coastal damages from hurricanes and typhoons in areas where mangroves are cut.
A lot of communities have used mangrove woods for construction materials and fuel. This is because its wood is repellent to rot and insect. Mangrove extracts are also used for medicinal purposes and mangrove leaves as animal forage.
Due to mangroves’ compact roots, they can trap and filter sediments, metals and other pollutants. This helps impede contamination of downstream waterways and even help protect coral reefs and sea grass beds underneath. Also, mangroves are proven to fight carbon emissions “at a rate two to four times greater than mature tropical forests. ” This, in turn, help fight global warming.