When many hear “mangrove" they may picture a group of trees rising out of water, swamp and muck, a dreary, mosquito-filled place. This is however a shallow, uninformed belief and I will show you in this essay why mangroves are so much more than that, to us, a variety of animals and the planet that we all call home.
Firstly, how do mangroves assist human beings? They aid us in many ways. One of the major ways is by protecting our shorelines from natural disasters. There are 147,000km^2 of mangrove in the world, the size of Bangladesh! The roots of trees found in mangroves hold together coastlines, preventing erosion. This is why mangroves are guardians of coastal ecosystems.
Secondly, mangroves assist animal conservationists and the species they protect by providing an isolated paradise for animals. This paradise, despite getting smaller due to deforestation, is home to at least 1300 different species of animals. Amazing!
Lastly, with rapidly occurring climate change, mangroves are a glimmer of hope for the future. These forests store three to five times more carbon in their soil per acre than other tropical forests. We must defend these utopias to save our planet.
Here are 3 facts about mangroves in the Caribbean country of Belize:
1. Belize is home to 3 types of mangroves: the red, the black and the white. What a diverse biome!
2. Belize on a whole is 3.4% mangrove. This is the highest percentage of any Central American country!
3. According to the WWF, 12,827 hectares of mangrove in Belize are protected by law!