Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Home Sweet Home

by Tan Poh Ling

Mangroves Tree

“I have a special home which grows between land and sea where other plants can't grow - Mangroves. Lately, I need to move away because my home is being destroyed. Besides, some of my friends died because they are not used to the environment around after our housing area being destroyed…” Mangroves is killed bue to the crude oil clogging on the lenticels of the tree contnually flooding from the artificail dikes and sea walls. Today, mangroves forests are one of the most treated natural habitats in the world.

Mangroves contribute to us in many ways. The authority should enforce law in order to gaze the other remaining mangroves forest within the forest reserves area and managing mangrove forests as fishery reserves to encourage environmentally-sensitive commercial aquaculture activities. Their outlook may not be attractive but they are able to protect us in many ways. Hence, we should value them and not hurt them.

In Malaysia, mangrove forests covered 564,971ha with 97,882ha in Peninsular Malaysia, 340,689ha in Sabah and 126,400ha in Sarawak (Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environment). Mangrove forests are a unique ecosystem that is usually found along sheltered coasts where they grow abundantly in saline soil and brackish water subject to periodic fresh- and salt-water inundation. Mangroves have a unique specialisation in adaptations to the environment that enable them to live in salty waters.

Acting as the interface between land and sea, mangrove forests act as an important breading ground to many fishes, crabs, prawns and other marine animals. About 50% of fish landings on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia are associated with mangroves. Besides, it also acts as a protection to the coastline and serves as natural barrier to disaster such as tsunamis and torrential storms. Given the enormous advantages of mangrove forests, proper management and conservation is crucial to ensure the continued existence of mangrove forests.

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