Why are mangroves important?

+93 votes
asked Mar 11, 2015 in Science by laice (680 points)
The residents in my local area are kicking up a big fuss at the moment about a planned coastal development that will bring in large amounts of revenue for the community, but could potentially damage the mangroves. This seems to be a big deal to everyone except me – the mangroves seem pretty useless, I think they’re just an ugly stretch of swamp. But for everyone else, this is a vital issue and all anyone seems to talk about (the local media included). Why are mangroves important?

2 Answers

+26 votes
answered Mar 12, 2015 by Amber (1,430 points)

Why are mangroves important?

First, mangroves are delicate ecosystems that support an abundance of plant, fish and bird life. Fish and crustaceans that are born within the shallow confines of a mangrove swamp find themselves live in a safe “nursery” area, where larger predators can’t get in and little creatures can grow and develop vital survival skills before going out into the big, bad ocean. Mangroves are also important feeding grounds for many aquatic birds, which are known to suffer a drastic decrease in numbers when unable to access healthy mangrove swamps.

Mangroves protect coastlines with their snarled root structure as well, which helps to stop erosion, protects against coastal storm damage and acts as a natural filter system, trapping land sediment and preventing it from polluting the water clarity of the ocean.

+8 votes
answered Mar 13, 2015 by Natily (770 points)
If you’re not a nature lover, then you may have found yourself wondering “why are mangroves important?” After all, they’re just muddy forests, right? Actually, according to the World Wildlife Fund, mangrove forests are estimated to be worth US$186 million annually to the world’s economy. They are a vital source of income for both local and commercial fishermen, provide high quality timber that can withstand insect infestation and water rot, and perhaps surprisingly, mangroves are a growing tourism industry in some countries around the world.
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