Image source: ikerbasque.net

Mangrove forests in tropical and subtropical regions have been sanctuaries to a wide variety of species like fish, shrimp, crab, and mollusks and their ecological role that contributed to the growth of their neighboring human communities have proven their importance for many years.

However, not everyone knows that aside from their ecological importance, mangrove forests also promote an economic boost to their nearby population centers. In fact, a recent report has summarized the estimated worth of goods and services brought by this ecosystem to reach US$186 million each year.

Let’s take a look at the important contributions of these sanctuaries to the ecology and the economy.

Timber and other plant products.

Mangrove woods have been extremely valuable sources of timber and other plant products because of their natural resistance to rotting and insect infestation. That’s why many coastal communities depend on the material that they produce for goods like fuel and construction supplies.

Aside from wood, medicinal products, animal fodder, to name a few, have been harvested from this rich ecosystem.

Strengthens and protects coastal structures.

Because of mangroves’ dense root systems, they can easily trap sediments that often flow down rivers heading off the land. The same roots can help stabilize the structures of coastlines as well as effectively prevent erosion caused by storms and heavy rains.

The presence of mangroves in areas often hit by dangerous typhoons can lessen the economic and ecological damages caused by continuous rains and flooding.

Encourages and boosts tourism in the community.

The rich and diverse species present in mangrove systems can attract tourists as well as enthusiasts, in turn contributing to a strong economic activity to its nearby communities.

Sandy beaches and vibrant and rich coral reefs surrounding mangrove systems are popular destinations for snorkeling and diving expeditions.

In addition, tigers, monkeys, birds, crocodiles, to name a few, have found mangrove systems to be a practical and safe haven from the dangers of both human and natural threats.