WHAT IS MANGROVE FOREST
To define mangrove forest, think of a massive collection of interwoven trees and shrubs in large grouped clusters alongside a pool of water in coastal regions. There are over 80 different species of mangrove trees that grow in areas where there is little oxygen in the soil, they thrive in warm tropical temperatures and can only be found near the equator as far from freezing temperatures as possible.
MANGROVE FOREST DEFINITION
So what are mangrove trees and how do they form what is a mangrove forest? Mangrove forests rest right on the edge of the water in which parts of the roots of mangrove trees are almost entrenched to the deepest point making it seem as though they are floating right on the water’s surface. To sum it up a mangrove forest is a large cluster of trees and shrubs that live within the coastal intertidal zone.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MANGROVE FOREST
Mangrove forests can be identified by the unique way in which the roots of the trees are sticking out of the ground intertwined with one another. They look like they are extremely unstable and that they are seconds away from falling into the water but in fact, the way that the roots are tangled helps the trees to survive and stand strong during the rising and falling of the tide. Mangrove forests often appear to have a swamp-like look in which a lot of dense muddy soil can be seen. Mangrove trees also have a high salt tolerance meaning they are not affected or damaged from the saltwater and therefore can grow in muddy regions and sandbanks.
BENEFITS OF MANGROVE FORESTS
Mangrove forests actually play an extremely important role in helping to stabilize the coastline. They have the ability to slow down the tidal waters and help reduce soil erosion as a consequence of harsh storms, large waves, high rising tides, and uncontrollable currents. They also provide a safe space for many marine species, especially a wide variety of fish who seek their intricate root system as a home and hiding space from larger predators. Mangrove trees also work in perfect alignment with seagrass beds and coral reefs which together help keep the coastal zone strong, stable, and healthy. The leaves that fall off the mangrove trees into the water, once decayed, become an important food source for algae and many other small organisms. Mangrove trees even improve the quality of the water by filtering out harsh pollutants and trap the sediments from the land and stop them from falling and contaminating the water.
Mangrove forests are an imperative part of our ecosystem and all coastal areas in general but several species have already been classed as vulnerable and thus need to be preserved by decreasing human development in coastal land.
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