MANGROVE AND THE BENEFITS
Mangroves are located on the barrier between sea and land. They are the only tree that grows in salty water.
Not only are they extremely efficient at mitigating CO2, but the complex root structure also protects the shoreline from eroding due to extreme weather and rising water levels.
The roots of the mangrove tree that suck up the CO2 also provides a home for fish, allowing them to grow strong before hitting the open ocean. In the mangrove park, fish stocks have increased up to 50% since mangrove replanting. It’s not only fish stocks that are benefitting from the replantation of trees, but a range of realms of biodiversity are also increasing; including the returning of elephant families and the Sea Cow (Dugong).
The mangroves benefit us all, no matter where we are. Whilst the trees are cleaning and filtering the water they are also doing the same for the air. Creating a cooling effect for all ecosystems on the planet, contributing to balancing our temperatures.
Read more about Blue Carbon at grida.no.
The “Miracle” Tree
Mangrove lives in fine sedimented soil, and its roots are extensive, anchoring them well. It also absorbs and stores CO2 very efficiently. But, just when we need Mangroves the most, they are being devastated worldwide for coastal development, shrimp farms and charcoal industries.
Starboard seeks to allow benefits to flow more directly to local people, by involving them in preserving the mangrove forests, which will, in turn, generate alternative income for them, as well as engage them in the critical act of protecting the Mangrove for themselves and the rest of the world.
HOW DOES THE MANGROVE ABSORB CO2?
WHERE DO MANGROVES LIVE?
Mangroves live on coastal and delta areas. Compared to dry land trees, they live on very fine soil that are made of sediments. They are constantly exposed to not only tidal changes but also washed through with water and sediments from the mountains and rivers.
TRAPPING SEDIMENT AND BUILDING IT UP
Since Mangroves live on such a fine ground they have developed a shallow root system that they use to not only as stability but also to trap new sediment. When they trap new sediment they are constantly building themselves higher and higher up at the same time as they are pushing old sediment lower and lower down.
As well as the dry land trees, Mangroves also photosynthesize and absorbs CO2 through their leaves and drop them to the ground. But here is another difference, the carbon components of the leaves are getting trapped into the soil and pushed further and further down instead of being recycled up into the tree’s own ECO system.
The old sediments underneath Mangrove not only store carbon components from the tree itself, but it also traps the carbon compounds from the mountains and rivers.
Compared to a rainforest tree that has deep penetrating roots that creates oxygen chambers deep into the soil, Mangrove’s root system is very shallow so they cannot lead the oxygen down into the soil and therefore the soil becomes extremely low in oxygen, or anoxic.
Because the soil is anoxic the CO2 is not oxidized and released by microorganisms and therefore the CO2 is stored for as long as the tree is alive.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TREE DIES?
If you cut the Mangrove you expose the area for both erosion and for rapid wetting and drying. Once you get rapid wetting and drying, the carbon components start to break free and rise back up into the atmosphere again.
We have already lost over 35% of the worlds mangrove trees over the last 30 years and we are continuing to lose a further 1% every year. In Myanmar only 20% of the original mangrove cover remains. It is projected that most, if not all its remaining mangrove cover will be gone in the vital delta region by 2030 according to the latest NASA satellite surveillance report. (reference NASA report)
The protection of Mangroves is a comprehensive task that includes not only the preservation of the trees but also to find or create an alternative livelihood for locals.
Today, many poor people who live in and around Mangroves have no other option of income than to illegally cut the trees, burn them and sell the charcoal to industry.
PROTECTING COAST AND COMMUNITIES
Mangrove serves as coastal physical barriers and buffer that can absorb and protect human lives against tidal waves and extreme weather. The tropics cyclone Nargis in 2008 caused a death toll of above 138,000 people. The damage was estimated at over US $10 billion.
Mangrove serves the vital purpose of protection and providing food for marine life. They are therefore critical to the foundation of a complex marine food chain and for sustaining fisheries and many forms of bird and wildlife.
Water quality is preserved and reduces levels of water pollution. The trees filter suspended material, and assimilate dissolved nutrients.
Communities also benefit no only from the increased populations of fish for themselves to eat but by planting and protecting mangroves reduces poverty by creating new livelihoods within disadvantaged communities.
Read more about mangroves in our blog
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