Mangroves

 

The term "mangrove" refers to a group of resilient, salt-tolerant tropical plants that are typically found along the coast and in swampy areas. Mangroves are truly incredible, as they are adapted to thrive in conditions which would kill most other plants.

 

In Grenada, there are three main types of mangroves, along with one associated species:

1. Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)

2. Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans)

3. White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)

4. Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Importance of Mangroves:

  • As trees, mangroves help remove Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. However, mangroves actually sequester about 6x as much Carbon Dioxide as regular trees, and so help to slow down the phenomenon of Global Warming.

  • Mangrove forests, where they live on the border of land and sea, are crucial players in coastal protection. Along with coral reefs, they break the energy of waves and storms, acting as en effective buffer. In doing so, they prevent damage to and loss of property and life in coastal areas. Additionally, their dense root systems trap sediment on its way to the sea, accumulating the material and stabilizing the coast while also protecting corals from excessive sedimentation.

  • Mangrove swamps can act as "sponges" in time of flood by absorbing all the excess water and releasing it slowly. This protects coastal communities from flood damage during the wet or storm season. This ability to absorb water also means that mangroves adjust to sea level rise, once again keeping coastal communities safe.

  • Another shared function with reefs is the provision of a breeding ground and nursery for many species of fish. When young, marine creatures - including fish, crabs and shrimp - take shelter among mangroves roots as they grow. Worldwide fisheries - which supports thousands of communities both directly and indirectly - depend on this service provided by mangroves and reefs.

  • Mangrove ecosystems are extremely biodiverse. They are home to many species of insects and aquatic cretaures as well as a plethora of birds. Thus, mangrove sites tend to be prime bird-watching locations, and so contribute to eco-tourism.

  • Mangrove wood is very resistant to insects and the elements and thus is a valuable building material for indigenous communities.

  • The leaves and fruits of certain species of mangrove have been used as a food source by indigenous peoples.

 

Our Projects related to Mangroves:

 

RECCOMM

 

At Water's Edge (AWE)

 

Woburn Mangrove Restoration

Other sources of information on Mangroves:

 

Mangrove Action Project (MAP)

 

Mangrove Action Project YouTube

 

World Wildlife Fund 

Red Mangrove

  • found closest to the sea

  • characterized by its reddish "prop roots" which anchor it in the watery sand/soil

  • have torpedo-like seedlings, called propagules, which drop from the tree and can float for up to a year before anchoring in soil

Black Mangrove

  • found above the high tide mark as they are less salt-tolerant than red mangroves

  • characterized by long pencil-like breathing roots, called pneumatophores, which cluster around the tree

  • named after the dark, scaly bark and the black wood of the tree

White Mangrove

  • least salt-tolerant

  • thick, scaly, reddish bark

  • characterized by clustered, green, ribbed fruit

  • may develop peg roots (shorter, thicker pneumatophores)

Buttonwood

  • not considered a "true mangrove"

  • found in upland transitional areas

  • characterized by its small, button-like flowers/fruits

Threats to Mangroves:

  • Natural

    • Climate change

    • Changes in river flow, which affect salinity 

    • Damage to coral reefs

  • Human

    • Deforestation for other land uses

    • Coastal Development

    • Overfishing

    • Overharvesting for construction, charcoal or fires

    • Oversedimentation from improper farming practices or deforestation upstream 

    • Pollution from inland or nearby industrial activity (as with the Clarke's Court factory in Woburn)

    • Littering and dumping in swamps

    • Damming and diversion of rivers

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Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc.
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Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc.
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Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc.