Let’s Talk About Mangroves

by Steve Misati

Simple! Mangroves, a shrub species, primarily appeared during the Cretaceous and Paleocene epochs. They grow in salty waters and thrive in tropical, subtropical, and temperate coastal areas. They can live in harsh coastal ecosystems as well.

Did you know that the oldest known fossil mangrove dates back 75 million years? Most mangroves grow along rivers, shores, and estuaries. They have a sturdy and complex root system, with interwoven outgrown roots. The complex root system absorbs saltwater and helps in controlling wave action. Mangrove trees can live on muddy soils, sand, peat, and coral rocks. According to the theory of plate tectonics, Mangroves were distributed through the movement of tectonic plates. They reproduce through a process known as “viviparity.”

Anyways, here are 8 cool things you need to know about Mangroves ????

  1. Mangrove trees are, in fact, the only species of tree in the world that can deal with salt water. That’s why mangroves are generally found growing along coastlines. To live there, they need to be able to tolerate salt water. So this is the unique quality that mangroves possess.
  2. Mangroves are considered as the most important ecosystems in the world. Taken together, they help keep the climate stable, coastlines safe, provide food for fish, birds, and humans alike, and create vital habitats for various species.
  3. Mangroves can help keep people safe – Mangrove forests, specifically, their thick, impenetrable roots — are vital to shoreline communities as natural buffers against storm surges, an increasing threat in a changing global climate with rising sea levels.
  4. Mangroves have (carbon) hoarding issues – Blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, sea grasses and salt marshes) can be up to 10 times more efficient than terrestrial ecosystems at absorbing and storing carbon long term, making them a critical solution in the fight against climate change.
  5. Mangroves can be a bit salty – Mangroves are the only species of trees in the world that can tolerate saltwater. Their strategy for dealing with otherwise toxic levels of salt? Excrete it through their waxy leaves.
  6. Mangrove forests grow in intertidal zones and estuary mouths between land and sea. They anchor and protect coastal ecosystems, and make up a transitional zone between land and ocean, connecting and supporting both.
  7. Some mangroves have unique “breathing roots”, called “pneumatophores”. They contain pores called “lenticels” through which the plants absorb oxygen. They are not active during high tide when they are submerged. These delicate lenticels are highly susceptible to clogging by pollutants (such as oil), damage from parasites, and prolonged flooding. Over time, environmental stress can kill large swathes of mangrove forest
  8. Mangroves come in a variety of sizes – Though estimates vary, there are at least 50 — and maybe up to 110 — mangrove species, ranging in height from 2 to 10 meters, but all species feature oblong or oval-shaped leaves and share an affinity for brackish habitats.
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