A mangrove is a halophyte; a tree adapted to a salty, coastal habitat. They are located mainly in tropical regions around the world and can be found in over 115 countries.
The Sundarbans mangrove forest on the Ganages in Bangladesh is the largest in the world.
Mangroves protect coastlines from erosion due to their dense system of thick roots which trap sediment in the water and dissipate the waves from typhoons and storms.
During high tide their roots are immersed in salty sea water which is usually 3-4%. At low tides, when the water recedes, evaporation can lead to hyper salinity of up to 9%.
Due to the conditions mangroves are able to withstand, mangrove wood is rot resistant and therefore highly valuable. It can be a good source of income for the local people who can use it in construction, for fuel for cooking and heating, extract the tannins for use in the leather industry . However, there has recently been an increase in illegal mangrove forest harvesting for these uses and for pulp and wood chip, endangering the species that call the habitat home and destroying some of the medicinal plants that are found there.
Destruction of mangrove forests also contributes to global warming by disrupting the global carbon cycle and could contaminate surrounding water by releasing the large volume of heavy metals from the soil beneath them.
The mangrove forests are home to a huge variety of wildlife including molluscs, shrimp, fish and crabs. Algae, oysters and mud lobsters are frequently found in the red mangroves of Costa Rica. Many reef fish are found here and the locals use the habitat for fisheries. In Vietnam some people harvest shells from the mangrove forests.
Recently, there has been a movement to using mangrove forests as a source of ecotourism and conserving them instead of exploiting them for their materials. By making the forests into nature reserves, their destruction is prevented and the materials harvested from them is regulated thus protecting both the species living within them and the surrounding environments.
We hope you enjoyed our pic of our favourite instagram posts of mangroves. If you find yourself travelling with some free time, there are hundreds of charities and ecoprojects keen for your support.
Here are just a few links to some conservation projects you may like to read about or get involved in. Please email us with questions or more information! (Just fill out our contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org)