of oxidizing copper
tide up, tide down
Mangroves, the salt savvy plants that live along the shoreline battling high and low tides. From the sky, mangroves can look like mazes of broccoli. From the ground, mangroves are an army of dichotomous statues – spidery, bronzed roots crowned with emerald foliage.
The roots are, well, amazing. They block salt from entering the tree and can breathe when exposed during low tide. The leaves are pretty tough, spitting out any salt that enters.
Mangroves are multitaskers. When tropical storms strike, mangroves buffer the coast from attacking waves, reducing damage. Mangroves are prime real estate for oysters and an all-you-can-eat invertebrate buffet for egrets, ibis and the magnificent spoonbill. The winding channels are a chill-out place for dugongs. Mangroves are also underwater meccas and important nurseries for young fish.
From coastal USA, the Bahamas, and Brazil to Thailand, Africa and Australia, mangrove forests presently cover 137,760 km² on this planet – an area comparable in size to the country of Greece or 27 million tennis courts.
But mangroves face the same grave and uncertain future as their fellow terrestrial (e.g. rainforests) and aquatic (e.g. coral reefs) habitats. Due to the usual suspects (i.e. human development/rising seas and water temperature), mangrove forests are in precipitous decline.
Nature could really use a feel-good story right about now.