"Coastal mangrove forests help protect communities and habitats from storm surges, but sea-level rise could wipe them out."
"During a trip to Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen a few years ago, I found myself around small mangrove islands in an area called Boca Grande. Floating on clear, calm water, my travel group and I kicked over tall seagrass beds and rays camouflaged in the sandy flats. Fish of all kinds and sizes hung out among the tree roots, including huge cubera snappers. An hour stretched into two, this enormous saltwater aquarium proving as fascinating as the nearby, healthy coral reefs.
Mangrove forests like this may be one of the world’s most underappreciated landscapes. They provide important habitat for a wide variety of terrestrial, estuarine and marine species — from fish to birds and manatees — and supply nutrients and sediments for seagrass-bed and coral-reef habitats.
These ecosystems also protect the shore. Laura Geselbracht, a marine scientist and coastal restoration expert with The Nature Conservancy Florida, reports that mangroves prevented an additional $1.5 billion in direct damages in that state from 2017’s Hurricane Irma. An analysis by The Nature Conservancy, University of California Santa Cruz and Risk Management Solutions found that just 100 yards of mangrove trees can reduce wave height by 66%."