• Thailand Mangrove Forest

    Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats in the tropics and subtropics. The many species of trees and shrubs adapted to these conditions may not be closely related, yet are still grouped by the term "mangrove".

    Mangroves typically form a woodland or shrubland habitat. Tropical mangrove forests occur in both estuaries and open coastland environments. To flourish they need deposits of sediment, high in organic content which is sheltered by the wave action of the sea.

    Mangrove conditions

    The type and success of a mangrove forest is influenced by a number of factors. These include climate, salt tolerance, water level fluctuation, nutrients and wave energy.

    Mangroves can be surprisingly resilient to water salinity. The saline conditions tolerated range from brackish water, through seawater up to over twice the salinity of seawater, where the salt has become concentrated by evaporation.

    They are not so resilient to temperature stresses and only grow in areas where the temperature remains above 19°C. Growth of mangrove habitats is also restricted when there are temperature variations of more than 10°C.

    Mangrove coastal protection

    Mangrove forests protect tropical coastal areas from erosion. The massive root system of a mangrove forest dissipates wave energy, especially from storm surge and Tsunami.

    Mangrove roots slow down the tidal water with the roots trapping the ocean sediment during the daily tidal cycle. In this way they stabilise land elevation by promoting sediment buildup in tidal areas. This filtering effect of mangrove forests also plays a vital role in protecting seagrass beds and coral reefs from damaging siltation.

  • The leaf of a mangrove tree. Salt particles have formed on the surface as the plant excretes it from the sea water.

  • An egret rests at the fringe of the forest. Mangroves provide an important habitat for a broad range of birds.

  • Occasionally soft corals attach themselves to mangrove roots. This pink eruption contrasts sharply against the greens & browns.

  • Shrimp aquaculture is one of the biggest threats to tropical mangroves as farms decimate coastal regions.

  • The Mangrove Habitat

    The unique ecosystem found in the intricate mesh of mangrove roots offers a quiet marine region for young organisms. In Thailand, many species of commercially important fish rely on mangroves as a nursery. Other organisms supported by the mangrove root structure include algae, oysters, shrimps and crabs.

    Mangrove wetlands also provide habitat and also prime nesting and migratory sites for hundreds of bird species. Other species, though not permanent mangrove inhabitants, make use of mangrove areas for foraging, breeding, and other activities.

    Tropical mangroves under threat

    Mangrove forests are currently among the most threatened habitats in the world and are disappearing at an accelerated rate. The exposed portions of mangrove roots are highly susceptible to clogging by crude oil and other pollutants.

    Organic wastes (sewage), toxic minerals (heavy metals), organic chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) suffocate the underwater sections of mangrove. These poisons also become concentrate within the cellular structure of the plants. Over time, these environmental stresses can kill large numbers of mangrove trees.

    In addition, the charcoal and timber industries have also severely impacted mangrove forests, as well as the developing tourism industry and other coastal developments. Finally, the rapidly expanding shrimp aquaculture industry poses a threat to the world's remaining mangroves. It has been estimated that thousands of hectares of mangrove forests have been cleared to make room for artificial shrimp ponds

    Mangrove conservation in Thailand

    You can get involved with mangrove monitoring by joining a Blue Guru ecodiving trip. By doing this you will also be contributing to diving and marine education of the local youth. The key to a sustainable future for these tropical marine habitats.

    For further information about mangrove habitats and restoration projects in Thailand then we advise taking a look at the Mangrove Action Project website. They have been operating in his region for some time and we strongly support their good work.