Day 85 – Q 3. Why are mangrove forests ecologically valuable? Examine the geographical factors that lead to the concentration of mangroves in certain parts of the world.
3. Why are mangrove forests ecologically valuable? Examine the geographical factors that lead to the concentration of mangroves in certain parts of the world.
मैंग्रोव वन पारिस्थितिक रूप से मूल्यवान क्यों हैं? उन भौगोलिक कारकों की जांच करें जो दुनिया के कुछ हिस्सों में मैंग्रोव की एकाग्रता सुनिश्चित करते हैं।
Mangroves are salt-tolerant vegetation that grows in intertidal regions of rivers and estuaries. They are trees and shrub species that grow at the interface between land and sea in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, where the plants exist in conditions of salinity, tidal water flow and muddy soil.
Ecological valuable of mangrove forests
- Biodiversity – Home to an incredible array of species, mangroves are biodiversity hotspots. They provide nesting and breeding habitat for fish and shellfish, migratory birds, and sea turtles. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly.
- Livelihoods – fishers and farmers depend on these natural environments to provide healthy fisheries from which to fish, and healthy land on which to farm.
- Water quality – Mangroves are essential to maintaining water quality. With their dense network of roots and surrounding vegetation, they filter and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants. This ability to retain sediments flowing from upstream prevents contamination of downstream waterways and protects sensitive habitat like coral reefs and sea grass beds below.
- Coastal defence – Mangroves are the first line of defence for coastal communities. They stabilize shorelines by slowing erosion and provide communities from increased storm surge, flooding, and hurricanes. In 2003, it was estimated that a quarter of the world’s population lived within 100 kilometres of the coast and at 100 meters of sea level. Robust mangrove forests are natural protection for communities vulnerable both to sea level rise and the more intense and frequent weather events caused by climate change
- Carbon storage – Mangroves “sequester carbon at a rate two to four times greater than mature tropical forests and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests” like the Amazon rainforest. This means that conserving and restoring mangroves is essential to fighting climate change, the warming of the global climate fuelled by increased carbon emissions, that is already having disastrous effects on communities worldwide.
- Materials – In addition to consuming fish and shellfish from the mangroves, communities have historically used mangrove wood and other extracts for both building and medicinal purposes. Their potential as a source for novel biological materials, such as antibacterial compounds and pest-resistance genes, remains largely undiscovered.
- Sustainable development – Intact and healthy mangrove forests have an potential for sustainable revenue-generating initiatives including ecotourism, sport fishing, and other recreational activities.
Geographical factors that lead to the concentration of mangroves in certain parts of the world
Mangroves are found in 105 nations globally. Although distributed across 105 nations, the top 10 mangrove holding nations contain approximately 52% of the global mangrove stock with Indonesia alone containing between 26% and 29% of the entire global mangrove stock.
- Maximum concentration of mangroves is found between 5-degree north to 5-degree south of equator. Asia has the largest amount around 43 percent of world’s mangrove followed by Africa, North America, Oceania and South America
- Papua province of Indonesia archipelago
- Tarut island, Saudi Arabia
- Sundarbans mangroves, India
- Mangroves of the World have been divided into two groups: Eastern group i.e. East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Western Pacific and Western group comprises of West Africa, South and North America and the Caribbean Countries.
- The most extensive area of mangroves is found in Asia, followed by Africa and South America.
- Four countries (Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria and Australia) account for about 41 percent of all mangroves.
- The Sundarbans region is the world’s largest area of mangrove forest, spanning approximately one million hectares (2.47 million acres) in India and Bangladesh.
According to a report by IPCC 2018, mangroves are threaten by impacts of global warming. But seeing the benefit provided by these mangroves, it is highly necessary that we should conserve them with holistic and integrated approach. Mangrove for future by IUCN and government of India is a step in right direction. It will also fulfil sustainable development goal 14 i.e. conservation of lives depended on oceans.