Mangroves are seriously tough trees that grow in the challenging conditions of intertidal zones – where the rainforest meets the sea.
Covering one-fourth of the world’s tropical coastline, they boast their own wetland ecosystem, populated by plants and animals living in brackish water.
Mangroves are highly valuable areas, providing many ecosystem services that benefit both people and wildlife. For the high numbers of baby fish in the ocean, the richest nurseries of all are the mangrove forests. Straddling the boundary between land and sea, they provide shelter and relative safety for the juvenile fish to grow.
“I think the importance of mangroves is because all the fish go here and lay their eggs, and it’s where the birds do their nesting. It helps animals to live alongside human beings. If there was no rainforest, the wildlife wouldn’t be around.” – Korosi Midiana, Wabumari (Papua New Guinea)
Wildlife thrives, as the unique environment formed by mangroves provides a habitat bustling with biodiversity. In Cool Earth’s community partners in Wabumari and Gadaisu, the vast array of species living in the mangroves include shrimps and mud crabs, which are collected as a regular source of protein. And, not only that, they also help in the fight against climate change. They are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics.
As well as providing communities with sources of food and water, traditionally mangrove leaves have been used for thatching and animal fodder, and creepers used to make fishnets and baskets.
So, from increasing biodiversity to minimising the impacts of climate change by locking carbon mangroves are playing their part in saving the rainforest.