If there are no mangroves, then the sea will have no meaning. It’s like a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea! Mangrove trees are salt tolerant and have an appearance of a bush. They strengthen in zones of tropical and subtropical localities. There are more than 15 million mangrove timber plantations around the world. Mangroves are said to have immense economic and ecological importance. Pakistani mangroves are located mainly along the delta of the Indus River. Some of the main mangrove forests are found on the coastline of the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.
There are hundreds and thousands of people that depend on the mangrove natural environment for living. Since the past few centuries, mangrove trees have been of use for humans for getting fuel, timber, fodder for animals. Unfortunately, since the last five decades, the mangrove environment in Pakistan has been the victim of urbanization, and over exploitation and as a result, is fading very quickly. The amount with which it is being destroyed is discrepant with its actual value. Mangroves hold immense biological diversity. They are a source of food, nesting and nursery areas for most animals. These animals include more than 200 species of fish, 20 species of the reptile and amphibian family, more than 150 bird species and 15 mammal species. If mangroves are removed, we will find most of these species to become extinct since their source of survival has been destroyed. In turn, humans will also be affected indirectly as mangroves are also our source of food and water. One of the major roles of mangroves also lies role in areas that are prone to tsunamis. Mangrove forests lower the devastating impact tsunamis can have on coastal areas. They do so by absorbing some of the waves’ energy. As a result, the damage to properties in these areas is quite low.
When we destroy mangroves, we not only destroy the species along with their natural habitat, we destroy the complementary service that mangroves provide us with in difficult situations. With mangroves being destroyed, there will be a higher rate of floods and problems in water quality. Thus, the need to conserve mangroves arises. In order to prevent the destruction of mangroves, we need to consider certain steps such as afforestation, monitoring on a regular basis, soil conservation and legislation with laws and policies. Also, schools should be educating their students regarding mangroves and their importance as it is always better to look deep in to nature in order to understand everything better.
Written by: Maria A Mushtaq