- Why are mangroves important?
- Mangrove Facts
- Threats to Mangroves
- What businesses and industries rely on mangroves?
- What species depend on mangroves?
- Mangrove Geographic Range
- Mangrove Permanent Endowment
- Community Photos
Why are mangroves important?
Mangroves are important for a variety of reasons. They provide multiple ecosystem services, such as acting as a natural buffer from storms and floods with their deep root systems; creating habitat and food sources for fish and marine life, acting as nurseries for many species of fish; controlling erosion by stabilizing the seafloor substrate; storing carbon in their roots, thus contributing to climate change mitigation; cleaning pollutants from rivers before they reach the ocean; providing natural resources like wood, wood products, honey, thatch and medicines; serving as a living barrier against sand-drifting and salt water intrusion into nearby freshwater habitats; promoting bio-diversity through complex flora and fauna interactions; providing recreational opportunities such as mangrove kayaking tours or fishing trips.
- Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in coastal saline or brackish water, located within sheltered coastlines of tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
- There are more than 80 species of mangrove globally that provide valuable goods and services for both people and the environment.
- Mangroves play a vital role in providing food, protection from storms, nursery areas for juvenile fish and other animals, carbon sequestration, coastal protection from floods and erosion control due to their capacity for trapping sediments and their complex root systems which create an effective boundary between land and sea.
- Mangroves occupy many different environments where salt water is present - rivers, estuaries, deltas, lakes, swamps, lagoons or inter-tidal mudflats – being one of the few plants capable of surviving in such locations.
- Worldwide there are approximately 150 million hectares of mangroves providing ecosystems services valued at close to US$80 billion per year.
Threats to Mangroves
Dredging and reclamation: vast tracts of mangroves have been destroyed worldwide. In some cases, entire mangrove forests have been bulldozed to make way for port developments, shrimp ponds, urban sprawl, and other developments.
Pollution: Oil spills and agricultural, industrial, and sewage runoff all threaten mangrove ecosystems, since even low levels of contamination can be toxic to river dwelling plants and animals.
Climate change: Global warming is expected to cause sea-levels to rise in the coming years, which could impact thousands of miles of mangrove wetlands by flooding or covering them with salt water.
Overfishing: The overharvesting of fish species that depend on mangrove habitats can disrupt the delicate food chain, leading to a decrease in population numbers among species at the top of the food chain such as dolphins and sharks.
What businesses and industries rely on mangroves?
Fishing: Mangroves provide nurseries for numerous species of fish, shrimp, crabs and other organisms which are the main source of food for many local and international communities.
Tourism: Many coastal towns have mangrove forests as tourist attractions due to their unique ecosystem and diverse range of flora and fauna.
Coastal protection: Mangrove trees act like buffers against storms, erosions, floods and sea level rise by stabilising shorelines and reducing wave energy impact by absorbing excess sediment from rivers and trapping land-borne debris.
Wood production: The wood of the mangrove tree is valuable and used in furniture-making, boat building, fuelwood and timber harvest activities.
Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceutical companies use some extracts from mangrove plants in their drugs due to the medicinal properties they possess which makes them highly valuable internationally.
What species depend on mangroves?
Many species of animals depend on mangroves for habitat and food. These include fish, crustaceans, molluscs, birds (such as herons, storks, ibis, egrets, terns, spoonbills and kingfishers), mammals (such as monkeys and manatees) and reptiles (including saltwater crocodiles and sea turtles). Additionally, plants such as sea grasses and algae rely on mangrove habitats for habitat.