Ecological & Economical importance of mangroves
Ecological significance: -
Mangrove forests are among the most productive terrestrial eco systems and are natural and are a renewable resource. Mangroves are not a marvel just for their adaptations but also for the significant role they play in our environment.
- Mangrove ecosystem act as Buffer Zone between the land and sea.
- Mangroves protect the coast against erosion due to wind, waves, water currents and protect coral reefs, sea-grass bed and shipping lanes against siltation. They are also known to absorb pollutants. Mangroves host a number of threatened or endangered species, different animal species- mammals, reptiles, amphibians and bird- offer nutrients to the marine food web and provide spawning grounds to a variety of fish and shellfish, including several commercial species
- It has been suggested that the large loss of life (300,000 to 500,000 lives) in Bangladesh during the 1970 typhoon was partly due to the fact that many of the mangrove swamps protecting those populated coastal regions had been removed and replaced by rice paddies.
- In mangrove areas water level is shallow, warm water temperatures due to various decaying activities, water current is slow (nearly stagnant) hence ideal place for growing of sea algae and for spawning for fish and marine animals. They are breeding, feeding and nursery grounds for many estuarine and marine organisms.
- Purify the water by absorbing impurities and harmful heavy metals and help us to breathe a clean air by absorbing pollutants in the air.
- The tidal swamp is an ideal sanctuary for avifauna some of which are migratory
- Mangrove forests are also important in terms of aesthetics and tourism. Many people visit these areas for sports fishing, boating, bird watching, snorkeling, and other recreational pursuits.
In addition to these ecological roles, mangrove forest posses attributes that are specifically important to humans:
- Mangroves are also a source of a vast range of wood and non-wood forest products including timber, fuelwood, charcoal, fodder, honey, pulp, tannin, medicine and thatch etc.
- The ecosystem has a very large unexplored potential for natural products useful for medicinal purposes & also for salt production, apiculture, fisheries products fuel and fodder, etc.
- Mangroves also provide opportunities for education, scientific research and eco tourism.
- It is essential to systematically conserve the biodiversity in the mangrove ecosystem and manage well for the use of mankind.