Causes of Depletion of Mangroves & their Role in Maintaining Coastal Ecology

Updated July 23, 2022

Rapid depletion of Mangroves in modern day order is a worrying concern. In fact, Mangroves play crucial role in sustaining the coastal bio-diversity ecology. They give protection and minimize disasters due to Tsunami and Cyclones. But, the inhuman activity of over exploitation, deforestation, land reclamation and pollution has deteriorated the ecosystem mangroves.

Business-oriented people are a serious threats for the mangroves Forest. They somehow for the advantages do over-logging, agricultural practices, farming of fish and shrimp etc. in the coastal areas which led to the edge of destruction of the ecosystem. Even, the unregulated discharge of solid from the industries become the most serious threat for the mangroves. The depletion of mangroves can lead to serious consequences, including a reduction in biodiversity, species decline, genetic erosion, extinction, increased flooding, and decline in water quality.

Broad Causes of the Depletion of Mangroves Forest

We will discuss all possible causes aiding to depletion of Mangroves under some broader headings and their diverse offshoots.

Anthropogenic Causes

(a). Pollution– Expanding of the Industries, farming aquaculture and agriculture near the river basins has led to the production of huge amounts of garbage, wastewater, pollutants and other effluents being discharged to the mangrove wetland. These elements led to the depletion of mangroves.

(d) Fire- Fire may have caused some of the most serious damage of the mangrove ecosystem in recent years. Trees in an area around one km at Napitkhali under Chandpai range of the world’s largest mangrove forests are burning rapidly.

(b). Over Exploitation and Illegal Forest Cutting– For fulfilling the growing requirement, Over-logging of the of mangroves has been one of the options. This has made the ecosystem of mangroves vulnerable to exist.

(c) Management Failure- The mangrove forest is disappearing because of the three main management failure reasons: lack of skilled and well-trained officials and failure of institutions and conflicting activities, poor planning and knowledge of coastal land use and implementation of the development plan that does not include environmental protection principles. This has resulted in the depletion of Mangroves.

Natural Causes

(a) Sea level rise and coastal erosion– Due to global warming, the sea levels are continuously rising. The rising sea levels have flooded large areas of mangrove forests. This has resulted in their depletion. This has been supplemented by continuous erosion by sea towards the land.

(b) Reduction of River Water Level- The mangroves are commonly found in the areas where the rivers meet with sea. Since this system requires a balance of salt and sweet water to survive so the imbalance availability of these elements reduces the mangroves trees. And the variation of require element occurred due to the reduction of rivers water level caused by Dams construction.

(c) Natural Disasters and Climatic Changes- Natural calamities like cyclone, floods, storms, coastal erosion, naturally shifting hydrology and climatic change may destroy trees and animals even faster. It is one of the factors in causing the depletion of mangroves.

Role of Mangroves in Maintaining Coastal Ecology

Marine Fisheries- Mangroves provide nursery habitat for many wildlife species, including commercial fish and crustaceans, and thus contribute to sustaining the local abundance of fish and shellfish populations.

Wildlife Habitat- Mangrove systems support a range of wildlife species including crocodiles, birds, tigers, Deers, monkeys and honey bees. Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves. Mangroves serve as nesting areas, for coastal birds such as brown pelicans and roseate spoonbills. Many migratory species depend on mangroves for part of their seasonal migrations.

Coastal shields- The mangroves act as shields and protect the inner coastal areas from the destruction caused due to cyclones or storms.

Depletion of Mangroves & Need to Protect

Obviously, the mangroves have an important role in sustaining and preserving the coastal ecosystem. In a broader sense, Mangroves ecosystem is the interface between terrestrial forests and aquatic marine ecosystems. The structural complexities of mangrove vegetation create unique environments which provide ecological niches for a wide variety of organisms.

Mangroves serve as breeding, feeding and nursery grounds for most of the commercial fishes and crustaceans on which thousands of people depend for their livelihood. The threats posed by human activities can upset the natural balance and cause their depletion.

Beyond Role of Mangroves & Their Depletion Under Awareness

Leave a comment