Mangroves are important to algae reefs – many people think of our reefs as the starting point for the food web/life cycle, but as it is a cycle, there really is no starting or ending point. Reefs feed plankton and tons of other species of small fish, which are eaten by larger fish, etc. etc. etc. And what feeds the reefs? Mangroves!
Mangrove roots also have a special characteristic/ability called rhizofiltration – the mangrove roots allow the area around them to be aerobic, even if the soil is saturated. This is a great place for microorganisms to live, since they are always guaranteed oxygen. These microorganisms eat pollution, so mangroves are directly responsible for many pollutant absorptions.
1. Habitat Value: 80% of commercially valued fisheries species have some part of their life-cycle within the mangroves. Additionally, mangroves provide habitat and food for arboreal mammals, reptiles and insects, many of which are endangered, vulnerable or rare.
2. Coastal filters: Mangroves are the ‘kidneys of the coast’. Their complex root systems trap sediment particles to which nutrients and pollutants are often attached. This prevent these from causing harm to adjacent reef and seagrass habitat.
3. Coastal stabilizers: Mangroves protect coasts from tsunamis and cyclones. Their aerial root structures are highly effective at dissipating wave energy, protecting coasts from erosion. This will become even more important with sea-level rise.
4. Carbon sequestration: Mangrove soils store and sequester 50 times more carbon than any terrestrial forest.
5. Aesthetic value: Mangroves look good. Tourism associated with natural values are directly linked to the presence of mangroves.
6. Food, Fibre, Fodder and Firewood: Mangroves in many parts of the world are used directly by people as a resource which sustains livlihoods and local economies.
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