Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mangroves and Salt Marshes Beat Tropical Forests

Loves Carbon
In all the talk about carbon, let's not forget that conservation fights carbon. Say it again. Keep it mind.

Mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses soak up five times more carbon than tropical rain forests, according to an enlightening story in Scientific American

This is why we should be alarmed that we lose an American football field a day -- a day -- of wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico. It's not mainly because of the BP mess, it's from chronic channeling and dredging and runoff pollution. It's essentially that old hubris that man is supposed to conquer nature rather than live as part of it. 

While taking carbon out of the atmosphere, mangroves also have other benefits, worth about $9,000 bucks per hectare, according to the United Nations.  A hectare is about the size of the field inside a standard 400 meter running track.

"Mangroves are tangled orchards of spindly shrubs that thrive in the interface between land and sea. They bloom in muddy soil where the water is briny and shallow, and the air muggy. Salt marshes and sea grasses also flourish in these brackish hinterlands. Worldwide, these coastal habitats are recognized for their natural beauty and ability to filter pollution, house fish nurseries and buffer shorelines against storms," according to the article.

Ah, the sweet spot between land and sea. Let's do everything we can to keep them around.

Read the whole story here.

Photo: Scientific American

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