Importance of mangrove ecosystem
The benefits of mangroves in terms of ecological aspect, human livelihood, and importance of coastal process can be concluded as follows:
Mangroves provide food sources, nursery grounds, and habitats of various animals including human. According to Nittarat et al. (2551), 7 phyla of benthic organisms were found including sea anemones, flat worms, round worms, polycheates, sipunculas, echiuras, horseshoe crabs, copepods, amphipods, tanaidaceans, shrimps, crabs, and mollusks. Not only mangroves provide benefit to aquatic animals, but also the resident and migratory birds. The resident birds inhabit and build their nests in the mangrove area include little egrets, little cormorants, red-backed sea eagles, whereas, migratory birds seasonally fly from other areas through the same route along the continents to the mangroves in order to halt and rest because the mangroves provide their food sources as well as the shelters from storms and their predators. The migratory birds include giant birds, spoon-billed sandpipers, seagulls, etc. as well as the other mammals including bats, monkeys, rats, wild cats, fishing cats, wild pigs, and barking deer. Other reptiles include snakes, monitor lizards, and crocodiles etc. Besides, there are important economic species inhabiting in mangroves and some species spend some part of their life such as silver perchs, milkfishs, mullets, groupers, tiger prawns, banana shrimps, oysters, mussels, cockles, horse mussels, meder's mangrove crabs, blue crabs, while some spend their entire life in mangrove such as mud crabs.
Plants in mangroves are edible and utilized as a human food such as Suaeda maritimaPhoenix paludosa, Sesuvium portulacastrum etc. Nipa palm is another plant of mangroves that its various parts can be used; roofs can be made of their leaves, young leaves can be applied as cigarette rolling papers, sugars can be obtained from nipa palm sap, and fruits can also be eaten as dessert. Various plants in mangroves are medicinal plants including Acanthus ebracteatus and Atalantia monophylla which are applied for skin disease treatment, the fruits of Xylocarpus granatum which are applied for dysentery and diarrhea treatments, and their roots can be used to treat inflammation, fever, and skin irritation.
The depositions of leaves, twigs, branches, and other parts of plants on the surface of the soil were turned to organic matters through decomposition process. These soluble organic matters derived from decomposition process such as amino acids that the algae and microorganisms can take it as their food. These microorganisms are important for other organism living in mangroves.
The mangroves regulate ecological balances for the coast and the vicinity, especially, sea grass and coral reefs. Mangroves are important for the balances of nutrients which further contribute to the abundance of fishery resources.
Not only do mangroves roots help protect the coastal erosion, but also slow down the water currents. Mud flats resulted from sediment deposition enhance the expansion of mangrove area.
Mangrove roots rising above the ground act as the natural filters to catch various land-based wastes and pollutants in the rivers before entering into the sea. Various heavy metals transported by the rivers are deposited in the muddy substrate in mangrove. Additionally, garbage and oil are also trapped within mangrove.
Mangroves are good wind breakers that decrease intensity of wind and waves
Mangrove ecosystem is unique and aesthetic, made up from various types of plants, aquatic animals, terrestrial animals, birds etc. So, they become an important tourism and learning area.
Mangrove ecosystem is source of carbon storage reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen in the atmosphere due to its high of photosynthesis.
Charcoals made up from mangroves are important source of energy. The trunks of the genus Rhizophora are popular in producing charcoals because it burns giving high heat without generating smoke and high economic benefits. Nowadays, Charcoals made from Ban Yee Sarn of Samut Sakorn Province are quite popular. In addition, mangrove timbers can be used in other proposes such as Timber piles, crutches, construction timbers, fishing piers, fishing gears, wooden furniture. Moreover, Tannin can be extracted from mangrove plant in order to use for making ink, pigment glue, dye, etc.
Fishery Resources Tourism activities
Examples of some contribution of mangroves to human