Question: Discuss the causes of depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology.
Mangroves are one of the most precious elements of coastal ecology due to their role as a sustainer of biological diversity of the region. The mangroves are facing various threats, causing its widespread destruction.
Causes of mangroves depletion
- Sea level rise and coastal erosion
Due to global warming, the sea levels are continuously rising. The rising sea levels have flooded large areas of mangrove forests. This has resulted in their depletion. This has been supplemented by continuous erosion by sea towards the land.
- Reduction in river water levels
The mangroves are more prevalent in areas where the rivers meet the sea. The system requires a fine balance between salt and sweet water to survive. Reduction of river water due to dams has caused destruction of mangroves.
- Invasion by alien species
Introduction of non-native and alien species of plants and animals are causing threat to the endemic species of the region. This has led to imbalance in ecological structure, resulting in their depletion.
Importance of mangroves in maintaining coastal ecology
- Ecotone region
The mangroves show edge effect, which means that they have large species diversity in comparison to marine or terrestrial ecosystem.
- Coastal shields
The mangroves act as shields and protect the inner coastal areas from destruction caused due to cyclones or storms.
Thus, the mangroves have an important role in sustaining and preserving coastal ecosystem. The threats posed by human activities can upset the natural balance and cause their depletion.