Magic Mangroves

Travel
Opinion
Climate
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​Louise briefly explains the magic of the Mangrove tree and why it’s playing a key role in the fight against climate change.

What is a Mangrove Tree?

Mangrove trees are the only tree able to live in salt water and they grow along coastlines around the world. There are over 50 different types of mangrove tree and they have strong waxy leaves (through which they secrete salt water) and large, strong roots that create dense barriers between the land and sea. They grow from 2 - 10 metres tall.

Where are they found?

Although they can survive in pure salt water, they especially love a mix of fresh and salt water and their roots particularly appreciate a mud-like sediment to grow in. Places where they can be found include Indonesia, the east and west coasts of Africa and Florida. Mangrove forests can be found on the saltwater coasts of 118 tropical and subtropical countries, totalling more than 137,000 square kilometers (85,000 square miles) — roughly the size of Greece or Arkansas


Mangrove Roots are dense and have a huge range of benefits

What’s so Good about them?

So many great things about Mangrove trees - here’s a list of why they’re so magical

1. They absorb a huge amount of CO2 and so are playing a key role in the fight against climate change. In fact, mangrove forests are 5x more effective at storing carbon than tropical forests.

2. Their dense roots form an underwater sanctuary for many forms of aquatic life

3. Mangrove forests protect the shoreline from bad weather and large waves

4. The Mangrove’s strong roots act as a binding structure within the sediment and prevent erosion



The Mangrove's strong roots form a protective barrier against the elements

In Danger

Many Mangroves have been deforested to make way for modern agriculture. Mangroves are under threat nearly everywhere, but the problem is particularly acute in Myanmar, where the rate of deforestation is four times the global average. Shrimping is an issue in Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia, where mangroves are often cut down to make room for temporary shrimp pens. But once the pens have been removed, the accumulated biowaste renders the water too toxic for most forms of life.

What Can be done?

It is better to revitalise rather than re-plant Mangrove forests. Sea Trees is an organisation which supports blue carbon projects that regenerate coastal ecosystems, by drawing carbon from the air, increasing biodiversity, creating jobs and sustainable communities. Via their website (https://sea-trees.org/products/plant-mangrove-seatrees) you can donate money to plant mangroves. Every mangrove you help to plant via SeaTrees:

  • Provides sustainable employment for two villages on Biak Island, Indonesia
  • Helps to protect Biak Island from storm-surges and sea-level rise
  • Creates critical habitat for threatened species
  • Sequesters carbon in one of the most efficient ways possible.
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