We have mentioned before the value of mangroves and barrier islands for protecting areas prone to hurricanes. Mangroves are essential for many reasons, including solving today’s freshwater and climate change issues.
Mangroves grow in brackish waters that are a mixture of saltwater and fresh. For that reason, they grow in delta areas where rivers enter the sea or in coastal areas with massive amounts of rain. Mangroves can filter out 90% of the salt in seawater that enters their roots, and the mangrove root systems provide a place where marine organisms lay eggs and raise their young. Recent research has shown that mangrove forests store up to five times more carbon than any other land-based forests, storing 87% of that carbon in the soil beneath their roots.
Mangroves are essential for many reasons. They stop shore erosion, sequester carbon, provide a barrier to storm surges, and make a place for marine organisms to lay eggs and raise their young. They also offer a home in coastal areas for bees to build their hives and birds to build their nests. As a result, the honey industry gets much of its wild honey from mangrove forests. In addition, bird watchers have identified many bird species that depend on mangroves for secure nesting areas.
God gave us all kinds of plants to provide for our needs. From the desert cactus to the evergreens in cold weather areas to the seaweed in the oceans to the land trees we use for wood, plants are essential creations of God. Unfortunately, research shows that humans have eradicated 50% of the mangroves in the last 50 years, and we will pay a heavy price for the loss. We must learn to use these incredible resources wisely.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: “Family Trees” in World Wildlife magazine winter 2022