By Patricia Ballelos
Published 2019 – From 1st Semester Issue
My home is the rainforest of the sea. It lies along the coastal shoreline where freshwater meets saltwater, creating a bridge between terrestrial and marine environments. The oxygen-poor soil below is where the fine sediments and organic matter are transferred from land to sea in order to form the base of marine food sources (Farley et al. 2010). With my tall beams of aerial roots, it appears as if we are floating on stilts above the water. Through the times of rough waves and typhoons, these trees stand strong to protect not only we who live within the ecosystem but the humans on the nearby land as well. My roots extract oxygen through my lenticels, or pores that are covered with waxy cells that allow the air to enter. Down below the rest of my school of fish, shrimps, crabs and mollusks roam free. Above, the birds, snakes, and crocodiles come along to hunt and lounge (Nagelkerken et al. 2008).
But there is still hope for this situation as more humans are coming to realize the importance that this ecosystem brings. I, along with the other habitants are optimistic that in the years to come, even more will appreciate us— the mangroves.
Despite all its beauty, my home is also under great threat. At an alarming rate, humans come to clear our population and destroy our home for their own purpose of agriculture, settlement, and infrastructures such as piers and industrial zones. On top of this, dams and irrigation have reduced the amount of water that we get, causing erosion of the soil. Other reasons include overfishing, pollution and climate change (Faridah-Hanum et al. 2014).
Faridah-Hanum I, Latiff A, Hakeem K, Ozturk M. 2014. Mangrove Ecosystems of Asia:Status, Challenges and Management Strategies. New York (NY): Springer Science+Business Media: 81-94.
Farley J, Batker D, de la Torre I, Hudspeth T. 2010. Conserving Mangrove Ecosystems in the Philippines: Transcending Disciplinary and Institutional Borders. Environmental Management. 45(1): 39-51.
Nagelkerken I, Blaber S, Bouillon S, Green P, Haywood M, Kirton LG, Meynecke JO, Pawlik J, Penrose HM, Sasekumar A, Somerfield PJ. 2008. The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marine fauna: a review. Aqu Bot. 89(2): 155-185.