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🇬🇧 Mangroves by Cristina Flores Castro

What are Wetlands?


Wetlands occur where water meets land. They include mangroves, peatlands and marshes, rivers and lakes, deltas, floodplains, and flooded forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs. Wetlands exist in every country and in every climatic zone, from the polar regions to the tropics, and from high altitudes to dry regions.

Photo by Cristina Flores Castro

 

Mangrove forests

Mangroves are a crossroads were oceans, freshwater, and land meet.

Mangrove forests are among the most complex ecosystems on the planet, growing under environmental conditions that would kill ordinary plants very quickly. Mangrove forests are found in tropical and subtropical regions in tidal areas, which are frequently inundated with saltwater. Strongly in decline, mangrove forests occupy about 15.2 million hectares of tropical coast worldwide: across Africa, Australia, Asia, and America.


Why are mangroves important?


Disaster reduction: 

Mangrove forests provide protection and shelter against extreme weather events, such as storm winds and floods. Mangroves absorb and disperse tidal surges associated with these events: a mangrove can reduce the destructive force of a tsunami by up to 90%.


Species: 

Mangrove leaves and roots provide nutrients that nourish plankton, algae, fish, and shellfish. Mangroves are also home to many birds and mammals.


Climate change: 

Mangroves rival the carbon storage potential of rainforests.


Mexico has one of the highest mangrove deforestation rates in the world. Every year thousands of hectares are cleared and replaced by shrimp farms, agro-industrial plantations, or tourism mega-developments. “This short-term vision ignores the losses for a society that are generated by degrading such a valuable ecosystem”, adds Exequiel Ezcurra, Director of the Institute for Mexico and the United States at the University of California. At the current deforestation levels, in 25 years, close to 50% of Mexico’s mangroves will have been lost. Is it really necessary that our idea of “progress” should imply the destruction of natural ecosystems?



Photos by Claudia Méndez, Cristina Flores Castro and Ángela Rojas (From left to right)

 

Text By Cristina Flores Castro


Reference:

Wetlands international https://www.wetlands.org/


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