Mangroves are various large and extensive types of trees. They are salt tolerant and adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions. Mangroves are only found in tropical and subtropical climates. The trees contain a complex salt filtration and root system to cope with salt water, immersion and wave action.
Mangroves are easily recognizable by their dense mats of thick, stick-like roots that rise out of the mud and water. These roots (called “prop roots”) slow the movement of water as the tides flow in and out, allowing sediments to settle onto the muddy bottom. There are approximately 80 species of mangrove trees.
Mangroves provide many benefits and are very important for our ecosystem:
Unfortunately, mangroves are a highly threatened ecosystem because of:
Effects of deforestation:
Mangrove deforestation releases carbon stored in the soils, accelerating the greenhouse gas effect. Coastal communities are left unprotected from hurricanes and tropical storms. Deforested shorelines are subject to greater rates of erosion and are unable to keep pace with sea level rise. Nearby coral reefs, already heavily impacted by warming sea temperatures suffer further pressure from sedimentation when mangroves are removed and can no longer filter the water. Loss of mangrove habitat also impacts marine life and biodiversity.