Mangroves are an incredible natural resource. They are some of the richest environments on the planet. Around 19% of the world’s mangroves are found in Africa, across the East and West coasts. They are hugely valuable to coastal communities.
QU’EST CE QU’UNE MANGROVE?
A mangrove is a type of wetland, which means that it is an environment dominated by water. It is a type of forest which grows in coastal areas, where the ocean meets land and fresh water.
Mangrove trees are able to grow in these very salty conditions, where other life would not survive. This is because they have evolved amazing mechanisms to adapt to these particular conditions. For example, a mangrove tree can filter saltwater to extract fresh water.
LA BIOLOGIE DES MANGROVES
Mangroves are one of the richest and most complex environments on Earth, supporting very diverse ecosystems. The leaves of a mangrove tree provide food for plankton, which is then food for many other species. This is the basis of a huge variety of life, from monkeys to oysters. These species find food, shelter and breeding grounds in the mangroves.
LA MANGROVES ET LES GENS
Coastal communities benefit from mangroves in many important ways:
1) Natural resources: Mangrove forests provide a huge range. For example, wood that can be used for firewood and construction; fish and shellfish that are harvested for food; and even plant life used for traditional medicine.
2) Defense: Mangroves are incredible natural defense. The forests can protect coastal communities from winds and floods, and even tsunamis. The dense tree trunks and leaves are able to reduce the force of wind and waves. Studies show that mangroves can give up to 90% protection from tsunamis.
3) Environmental protection: Mangroves protect the land from coastal erosion, and even from rising sea levels. This is because falling leaves and other dead matter create new soil, and growing tree roots stabilise that soil. Underwater environments like reefs also reduce the destructive power of waves.
LES MENACES DE LA MANGROVE
20-30% of Africa’s mangroves have been lost in the last 25 years. They are threatened by human activity, like the spread of cities, pollution, and deforestation. Climate events like droughts also damage the mangroves.
Mangroves are a truly remarkable natural resource that needs to be protected. Some have already become protected areas, like wildlife reserves and Ramsar sites. These efforts will ensure that we can continue to benefit from the incredible natural richness of mangroves in the future.