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Why bother saving the mangrove forests

1. Waves and disasters

Which of these 2 coastlines is best protected against typhoons, big waves and tsunamis?

Mangrove forests stop the coast being eaten away by the sea and actually trap new sediments to build up more land.

mangrove coastal defence.jpg
Thai beach.jpg
2. Nursery for marine life

Fish, crabs, prawns and shellfish all use the safety of the mangrove roots for spawning. The roots are like a safety cage that protects the little fish from the bigger ones that can't get through the gaps. Many important species that we eat, like sea bass (Pla Kapong) depend on the mangrove forests for reproducing.

life in the mangroves.jpg
A school of baby fish in the mangrove forest
3. Water purifying system.

Mangroves trap silt and mud carried down to the sea by the rivers. this sediment would blanket and kill coral reefs if it got to the sea. Mangrove forest mud also contains bacteria which digest dangerous stuff like sewage and the waste from prawn farms, cleaning it up before it reaches the open sea.

4. Carbon dioxide trap

Mangroves are excellent carbon sinks, or absorbers of carbon dioxide. Research suggests that mangroves may be the best removers of carbon of any natural ecosystem. (About a 100 kilograms per hectare per day)  much of the carbon ends up in sediments, locked away for thousands of years

clean water.jpg
5. Great biodiversity - lots of different marine life, birds and animals.

Two of the easiest to see are mudskippers - fish that walk, called Pla Tein or Fingerfish in Thai - and fiddler crabs. The male has one huge claw, useless except for threatening other males and attracting females. For some other species check here.

Fiddler crabs - show-off male and dull female
Mudskipper - a fish out of water
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