Mangroves Summary 1. Mangroves are halophytic (salt loving) trees, shrubs and other plants growing in brackish to saline tidal waters. 2. They have various adaptations which include leaves that are impermeable to salt, or that have salt pores; root systems (prop roots and pneumatophores) which along with lenticles- slits in the bark and roots help take in atmospheric oxygen. 3. The mangroves display viviparity i.e the seed germinates while attached to the parent before being dispersed. Mangroves as a natural resource (choose 3) 4. The roots of the mangroves help increase oxygen levels in the water via photosynthesis and help purify the water by filtering most of the organic pollutants such as from the water. 5. Mangroves cover much of the waterfront and protect the inner parts of the islands from wave action caused by regular storms and even hurricanes.6. The mangals help provide an important nutrient base for the detritus ecosystem.7. They help reduce and recycle inorganic carbon by sequestration and increase nitrogen in the atmosphere with the help of nitrogen fixing plants.8. Mangroves provide a diverse habitat for a variety of organisms from bacteria to larger mammals. Threats (choose 3) 9. Mangrove forests are exploited for firewood and converted into domestic and industrial development, for coastal tourist facilities, and small ports and harbours, resulting in deforestation. 10. Mangrove areas are used for aquaculture ponds resulting in the destruction of mangrove flora and fauna in the areas surrounding the ponds because of the major changes in drainage conditions, in tidal inundation frequency and in nutrient availability as well as because of the toxicity of runoff waters from ponds and drainage channels. 11. Pollution due to industries such as mining, waste management plants and other chemical industries have caused an increase in the amount of toxins such as esters, petrochemicals, heavy metal salts which bioaccumulate once they enter into the ecosystem food chain. 12. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and Tsunami along with abnormal sea-level fluctuations, salt accumulations in soil or sediment after flooding, may cause stunted growth or eventually the total disappearance of the mangrove vegetation. 13. Biological pests such as bacteria, fungi and spiders, or some mammals and birds may destroy an individual or the entire forest. 14. The conservation efforts include legislative protection, rebuilding and protecting their environment, providing alternatives such as silvofisheries and conversion of abandoned sites into new mangrove ecosystems.