If mangroves disappear, willlife as we know it go with them?By Adele, Jun Eon, Sammy, and Zim
What are mangroves?• Tropical plants that are adapted to loose, wet soil, salt water, and being periodically submerged by tides• 80 species of mangroves found throughout world• Fast-growing trees that can reach up to 25 meters• Unique because they can thrive in all types of water: o Poor in oxygen content o Salt water o Brackish water o Fresh water
Types of Mangroves• Red mangroves are known for their aerial root formations• Black mangroves’ roots are tubular bristles that trap oxygen• White mangroves are short and have arching roots Red Mangroves Black Mangroves White Mangroves
Where are mangroves?• Mangroves are found in 118 countries and territories all over the world• 42% of mangroves are located in Australia, 21% in Africa, 15% in North/Central America, 12% in Oceania, and 11% in South America• Dominate 75% of coastlines
Biodiversity• Mangroves occupy the intertidal zone and support a great number of plants and animals (including endangered mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds)• Australia’s mangroves have the fourth highest biodiversity of any country in the world Manatee Proboscis Monkey Red-vented Cockatoo
Environmental Benefits• Serve as feeding, breeding, and nursing grounds for fish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife• Fine particles of sand get trapped in the roots of the mangroves plants and eventually build up new land• Protect coastal areas from erosion• Trap and cycle organic materials, chemical elements, and nutrients• Produce tannic acid, which aids in preserving coral reefs
Economical Benefits• An estimated 75% of game fish and 90% of commercial species in South Florida depend on the mangroves• Lessen impact of tsunamis, typhoons, and storm surges on coastal settlements• Bark is used for dyes• Produce durable, water resistant wood for houses, boats, and furniture• Some types of wood can be used to make charcoal• Leaves can make tea, medicine, and livestock feed, as well as be smoked as a substitute for tobacco• Flowers are used in honey industry
Statistics• Most losses relating to mangroves are linked directly or indirectly to humans• Since 1960, nearly 60-80% of original mangrove forest cover has been lost• Experts believe that the services mangroves provide for us will vanish in 100 years• The global loss of mangroves is 7 million hectares per year—higher than other tropical forests and coral reefs This photo shows an area in Timor-Leste where trash is frequently dumped and mangroves are cut down. As a result, the wildlife and plants are severely threatened due to loss of habitat and environmental pollutants.
Destruction by Humanity• Urbanization: mangroves are cleared to make room for human inhabitation• Agriculture: people destroy mangroves and build embankments to construct rice paddies or plant coconut trees• Cutting for timber, fuel, and charcoal• Prevention of freshwater and tidal flow: people build barricade constructions to divert water for irrigation• Oil pollution• Dumping grounds for solid wastes• Mining for tin• Artificial shrimp ponds
Natural Destruction• Tropical storms• Top dying fungal disease• Biological pests and parasites• Excessive flooding• Nutrient imbalance• Sea levels rising This graph shows the global sea level rise. As the water level increases mangroves are forced to adapt and alter their structures or drown.
Taking Action• The public is becoming more aware of the value and importance of mangroves• Governments are creating laws to protect mangroves o In 1996 Florida passed the “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act” o Six West African countries came together to sign the “Mangrove Charter and Action Plan”• Organizations o Wetlands International works to “engage communities, governments and private sector to halt negative impacts, introduce sustainable production techniques and develop national and regional policies and action plans for their conservation” o International Tropical Timber Organization• Reforestation: coastal communities collaborate to plant new mangrove plants and manage them more effectively
Thailand• The Thai Prime Minister has invested 3 billion baht in reforestation and preservation activities• OISCA Thailand educates villagers about the importance of protecting the mangroves• Sustainable tourism/eco-tourism A mangrove nursery project developed by OISCA Thailand.
Outlook• To answer the question, yes, the lives of humans, especially those living in coastal regions, will be very different if mangroves disappear• People’s livelihoods—for example, fishing—will be wiped out• Buildings will have to be constructed to withstand tsunamis, storm surges, and typhoons without the protection of mangroves• Coastal areas will erode more quickly, and no new land will build up• Coastal organisms’ habitats and coral reefs will vanish
You can help save Thailand’s mangroves, too! Join the OMG (Ocean & Marine Guardians) iChoice, or participate inmangrove reforestation along the coast.
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