15 Sep The Important Safety Mission of Mangrove Forest: 137,800km2 of Coastal Fortress on Earth
Mangrove are small trees that grows in coastal saline or brackish water (saltwater near beaches). Some of them grows so wide and tall, it becomes mangrove forest, can be found on the saltwater coasts of 118 tropical and subtropical countries. The term mangrove forest is used to refer a tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves can’t just grow anywhere, it grows in areas with low-oxygen soil, where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate, and we will tell you how these plants protects our lifes.
Mangrove Forest in The World
As we mentioned before, mangrove forest is a saltwater vegetation that grew in coastal waters. Mangrove comes with variety and sizes, there are at least 50 to 110 mangrove species on earth ranging in height from 2 to 10 meters. There is almost none of tree species that can grow and survive on saltwater, mangroves managed to live because they’re capable to excrete the salt through their waxy leaves. This plant can be easily recognized by their dense tangle of prop roots that make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water.
Speaking of mangrove roots, if it is big enough, it will become an underwater habitat for juveniles of thousands of fish species, seeking food and shelter from predators. Good news for enviromentalist who cares about climate change, mangrove forest can be up to 10x more efficient than land ecosystems at absorbing and storing carbon emission in a long term, making them a critical solution in the fight against climate change. Mangrove forest are quite plenty on earth, but it still won’t ecape the chance for them to be extinct.
Mangroves have been exploited by humans for timber, to build dwellings and boats, while also a fuel for cooking and heating (this practice found particularly in Southeast Asia and Brazil). In countries like Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia, mangroves are often cut down to make room for shrimp breeding, but after the shrimps were harvested, the waters will become too toxic for any creature to live, including mangroves. Once mangrove is cut down, it will be very hard for them to grow back, so it is better to revitalize than replant.
Global Mangrove Alliance is an NGO that brings together technical experts, civil society organizations, governments, local communities, businesses, funding agencies and foundations to accelerate a comprehensive, coordinated, global approach to mangrove forest conservation and restoration. The organization has an ambitious target to increase the extent of global mangrove forest habitats by 20 percent by 2030. The target will definitely help climate change mitigation, biodiversity and the well-being of coastal communities around the world.
How Important is Mangrove Forest for Us
Currently, Indonesia tops the worldwide list in terms of countries with the most mangrove vegetation where 23,000km2 of mangrove forest can be found. This wide vegetation of mangrove is a great example to show just how important mangroves are. The tangled root od mangrove will collect silt and sediment that tides carry in and rivers carry out towards the sea. Which means, by holding the soil in place, the mangrove treeswill stabilize shorelines against erosion, it’s a key for a stable coastline.
Mangrove roots are vital to shoreline communities as they protect them against erosion AND storm surges, an increasing threat emerge from climate change. Mangrove forest protects the land from wind and wave damage, cutting down these forest will leave us vulnerable towards destructive cyclones and tidal waves. This vegetation is vital for the survival of ocean ecosystem, as it prevents sediments and pollutants from flowing out to the sea that might damage coral reefs. In return, the reefs will protect mangrove from strong ocean wave.
Speaking of coral reefs, you might be interested in: The Important Role of Coral Reefs: And The 50% Loss of The Entire Population
Mangrove forest can be an important part for the life of living creatures as well, both animals and human. Like we said, it provides habitat for thousands of species at (almost) all levels of marine life. Leaves that fall from the mangrove trees will decay, then it will provide nutrients for invertebrates and algae. In return, it will feed many small organisms, such as anemones, jellyfish, shrimp, and young fishes. People who live in coastal areas depended on this ecosystem to catch seafoods, harvesting fuel, medicines, and woods.