Mangroves are trees or plants grow in the tidal area in tropics and subtropics like deltas, debouchures, lagoons or islands. They help to keep coastal zones healthy by preventing erosion of land, stabilize shorelines from waves and storms, trap sediment and pollutants from the sea and provide habitat to thousands of species.
Q: Why the mangrove forests are important to our ecosystem?
A: Let me explain in points the importance of mangrove forests to our ecosystem:
i) Maintaining water quality - The mangrove forests through their dense network of roots and surrounding vegetation help to filter and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants that float and contaminate the waterways thus providing clean and filtered water in the downstream.
ii) Store excess carbon - We know that carbon dioxide is taken by plants during photosynthesis and oxygen is released in the process. This CO2 is stored by plants in leaves, branches and roots by trees and plants and even dried leaves covered in soil when covered in tidal waves release CO2 slowly which results in carbon storage to a significant quantity thus helping to fight climate change.
iii) Add biological diversity - Mangroves are breeding grounds for fish, crab, shrimp, turtle, shellfish, crocodile and many amphibia as well as numerous species of fish. They are also the nesting place for migratory birds and other endangered species.
iv) Source of Livelihood for many - Many local communities like fishermen and farmers uses mangroves to catch fishes, shells, crabs and farmers depend on the natural environment to farm and provide for their families. Nearly 60% - 80% of the global fish catch depends on mangrove forests.
v) Natural protection to land - Mangroves stabilize heavy waves at the shorelines, slow down the land erosion from the storm, floods, hurricanes from the frequent weather and climate change.
vi) Materials for human use - The mangroves provide a direct product like wood for construction and burning and other produce like fruit, honey, vinegar, salt, or cooking oil. The other part of trees can be used to manufacture synthetic fibers, corks and floats, cosmetics, dyes, soap alternatives, etc. It is also breeding ground for a wide range of fish larvae and other species when grown can be used by humans as food or other purposes.
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