While we were walking along the beach yesterday morning I turned my attention inland instead of towards the ocean. As we walked I noted how many trees lose their leaves during dry season while, seemingly so many more take to blooming and fruiting. The contrast between the bare, bone like branches reaching to the sky and the tattered palm trees and large green trees that are still green was interesting to see from an unobstructed distance.
As we walked further I observed that the mangrove areas are also very dry right now and the lines where the water normally reaches is very noticeable. There are many varieties of trees and shrubs that grow in mangroves but they all have a few things in common; they are the amphibians of the plant world, thriving in salt water but also needing soil to live.
The first time I ever saw mangroves was in Australia during a trip to the Daintree Rainforest. We saw huge trees that looked like they were barely clinging to the sand along the shore line at Cape Tribulation. What I learned during that trip was that mangroves are very important ecologically. They protect the coastlines from strong waves and winds, rising sea levels and most importantly erosion. From then on I’ve always noticed the mangroves when I’ve been near the ocean.
We have several areas of mangroves throughout our district and mangroves are an important part of the ecological system. I’ve learned recently that further down the peninsula a large area of mangroves has been dug out from the shore and is currently being filled. It’s unfortunate because the system of mangrove roots trap sediment and adds to the stability of the shore. The environment provides breeding grounds for many fish and other wildlife. The soil is rich in organic matter and it forms an important source of food for the creatures that live there.
My observation is that ripping out mangroves and filling the area in to build is something like selling a lot with a pond a foot away that never seems to dry out in even the driest parts of the year. There is a reason that mangroves form in the areas that they do. I personally wouldn’t be willing to gamble on building or living on a property like that in the campo no matter how great a deal it is.
Go ahead and read what others have written about mangroves!