Ecological Value of Mangroves in the Philippines
Hanna S August 22, 2017
How mangroves are ecologically valuable, threats they are facing and how you can help!
Currently mangroves are one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Mangrove forests are extremely important in coastal ecosystems, due to their plethora of ecological services. One of the largest services they offer is the stabilization of the coast line. The presence of mangrove forests can reduce erosion from storm surges, waves, tides, currents, UV-B radiation and other natural disasters. This is because the forests block the land from these deleterious events. This is particularly important in island nations such as the Philippines, where threats of sea level rise are eminent. Fortunately mangroves are some of the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics (Kathiresan, 2012). They remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and are though to help reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gasses, which are thought to contribute to climate change. Climate change poses a large threat to the Philippines, where they are already facing rising sea levels, at a rate of over 14mm annually (Kathiresan, 2012). This is one of the many reasons it is important to preserve mangrove forests.
Another unique ecological benefit of mangroves is that their complex root system slows the movement of tidal waters, which reduces the amount of suspended solids in the water. The slowing of tidal movement causes the sediments to settle out of the water and build up on the muddy bottom, acting as a nutrient sink. The root systems allow for the nutrient layer to stay firm and provides a source of food, breeding grounds and nurseries for many aquatic organisms such as fish, crab shrimp and mollusk. In coastal areas, such as the Philippines the economy largely relies upon fishing, without these habitats there will be a decline in fish. Studies have found that there are up to 25 times more fish on reefs close to mangroves, than on reefs where mangroves have been cut down (Rath)...