Mangrove Ecosystem: what are they and the importance of their care for the planet?

Tomorrow, July 26, will be the International Day for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem. The main objective of this international date is to avoid the advance of mercantilist companies that seek to commercialize with nature at the cost of its detriment or damage.

According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) data, in the last 40 years more than 50% of the world’s mangrove forests have disappeared due to overexploitation by the shrimp industry in the areas where this type of natural habitat develops. Given this situation, it is urgent to take measures to conserve and restore mangroves, recognizing their ecological, social and economic value.

we want to explain what are the Mangrove Ecosystems and the importance they have for the planet.

What are Mangrove Ecosystems?

Mangroves are coastal ecosystems found in tropical and subtropical areas of the planet. They consist of trees and shrubs that are adapted to the brackish, waterlogged and dynamic conditions of the intertidal zones. In addition, they provide a series of ecosystem services that benefit both nature and the human communities that depend on them.

These benefits include protection against erosion, flooding and extreme weather events by cushioning the impact of waves and wind. They also contribute to biodiversity conservation by hosting a great variety of flora and fauna species (many of them endemic, threatened or commercially important).

To this we have to add carbon storage. By capturing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they prevent its release into the atmosphere.

Finally, the production of fish, timber, medicinal and artisanal resources provides habitat, food and shelter for numerous species that sustain the economic and cultural activities of local populations.

Main threats to mangroves

  • Deforestation, conversion and fragmentation of their habitat due to the expansion of agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, urbanization and infrastructure.
  • Pollution, dredging and filling of sediments due to industrial, mining, port and domestic activities that affect water and soil quality.
  • Overexploitation and illegal fishing due to the growing demand for natural resources that jeopardize the sustainability of species and ecosystems.
  • Climate change due to the increase in temperature, sea level, frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and ocean acidification that alter the environmental and biological conditions of mangroves.

Protection of Mangrove Ecosystems

For the protection of mangrove ecosystems (and for the care of the planet in general), it is essential to promote environmental education and awareness of the importance of mangroves, fostering a culture of respect, care and responsibility towards these ecosystems and their services.

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