Mangroves are awesome!
Everyone loves a white sandy beach but mangroves are one of the coolest features of our marine ecosystem. Mangroves are tropical plants that are adapted to loose, wet soils, salt water, and being periodically submerged by tides; Four major factors appear to limit the distribution of mangroves: climate, salt water, tidal fluctuation and soil type; There are more than 50 species of mangroves found throughout the world. Three species of mangroves are native to Belize: Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa); Mangroves trap and cycle various organic materials, chemical elements, and important nutrients in the coastal ecosystem; Mangroves provide one of the basic food chain resources for marine organisms; Mangroves provide physical habitat and nursery grounds for a wide variety of marine organisms, many of which have important recreational or commercial value. Mangroves serve as roosting and nesting sites for many of our birds. Mangroves serve as storm buffers by reducing wind and wave action in shallow shoreline areas. Mangroves assist in protecting water quality and clarity by filtering runoff and trapping sediments and debris. Through a combination of the above functions, mangroves contribute significantly to the Belizean economy.
Photograph by OCEANA Belize
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