Mangroves-surviving against all odds

Mangroves are highly specialised ecosystems characterised by salt-resistant plants thriving in the intertidal areas along sheltered coasts and estuaries in tropical and sub-tropical regions. They are commonly found in the latitudes between 24ºN and 38ºS and cover up to 75 per cent of coastlines worldwide. Mangroves, often termed as the tropical rainforests of the sea, are the second highest source of primary production next to rainforests and have a substantial impact on the global carbon budget (Dittmar, 2006). These forests are capable of fixing and storing significant amounts of carbon under extreme conditions—a point of growing interest. Yet, there remains little realisation of their importance, hence accounting for their destruction in the name of urbanisation and development. Mangrove forests occupy less than 1 per cent of tropical forested areas, and yet account for approximately 3 per cent of the global carbon sequestration by tropical forests (Bhomia et. al., 2016). They function as carbon sinks, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the form of plant biomass and soil organic matter. Some recent studies claim that mangrove management may provide an attractive low-cost alternative to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. There is, hence, considerable impetus in developing mangrove conservation projects. Besides this, mangroves also provide a variety of other ecological functions. They are a habitat for diverse aquatic life and act as an...

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