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Importance of Mangroves

Mangroves are very specialized group of plants found only in the transitional zone between land and sea. They thrive in a hostile environment batting adverse ecological conditions, like saline water, lack of oxygen in the soil, alternate exposure and submergence due to tidal action. They are natural barriers against sea intrusion, as demonstrated well during the Tsunami that hit our coasts in 2004. By breaking up large storm surges and strong tidal currents they protect sea coast from erosion. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe.

Mangroves serve as green lungs, which ensure abundant supply of oxygen to us. Scientific studies prove that the ability of mangrove forests to absorb carbon dioxide from atmosphere and bury it in the soil is six times that of Amazon Rain forests. They also maintain the stability of the shoreline and prevent the release of toxic wastes into the waters around them, thus playing a silent life supporting role.

Mangrove forests are home and nursery grounds to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusc species. These Nursery grounds provide often complex habitats with protective areas out of reach from larger predators, where the juvenile fish grow large enough to then survive in the open water. This way, the lives of millions of fishermen in our country is linked directly to the existence of healthy mangroves.