Mangroves

Mangroves

Mangroves protect land from erosion and act as a saltwater filtration system. / Photo: Wikipedia
The mangrove forest is the most productive ecosystem on earth. This hard working forest provides shelter, protection, food, fresh air and clean water just to name a few benefits of the mangrove

vivavozMangroves are a forest of various trees living on the shores of tidal pools and shorelines in tropical areas and are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. Mangroves contain salt water tolerant trees and have extensive root systems that adapt to many harsh conditions, such as little oxygen, waterlogged mud, and tidal waves. They protect the land from erosion and act as a saltwater filtration system. Mangroves are considered to be the kidneys of the environment as they filter pollutants and keep them from entering the ocean. These forests also produce oxygen and generate nutrients to feed the coral reef, all the while providing protection, breeding grounds and nurseries for fish, shrimp and many other crustaceans.

Mangroves are a feeding and foraging area for monkeys, deer, bats and even bees coming to collect nectar. It offers the crocodiles a natural refuge as well as a hunting ground for them and other mammals like the jaguar, manatee and vultures. The treetops create a roosting area for many species of tropical and migratory birds. It creates a safe breeding ground for wading birds such as herons, egrets and flamingos. Besides protecting our land, homes and business from erosion and hurricanes, mangroves are an essential system for all animals.

There are protection laws for mangroves yet they seem to still be disappearing due to development and pollution. Some of the mangrove trees have characteristics of a dead tree; dried branches and the roots look rotten. People make the mistake of tearing them down believing the trees are dead, but this is not the case, the trees are still growing and protecting the environment. Vast swaths of mangroves are destroyed during the constructions of hotels in tourism destinations, like the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

According to National Geographic and Octavio Aburto, Mexico has more than 700,000 hectares of mangroves. These mangroves generate benefits for of all species, the fishing industry, filtering system, hurricane protection and carbon sequestration which equates to contributing 70 billion dollars to the National economy. Despite these benefits, Mexico has one of the highest mangrove deforestation rates in the world. Continued destruction of Mexico’s mangroves leaves the area at risk to habitat and species loss, beach erosion, pollution escaping directly to the sea, and reduces the amount of protection during hurricane season.

Mangroves-2

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