Much maligned as 'smelly, swampy, mosquito-ridden places', the true beauty and value of mangroves should not be overlooked.
Dominating many coastlines in tropical and subtropical areas, mangroves are a bridge between terrestrial and marine environments. They are also extremely productive ecosystems.
The forests transfer organic matter and energy from the land to the sea, forming the base of many marine food webs. They are also home to a wide variety of marine and terrestrial life, and serve as nurseries for many coral reef and commercially important fish species.
In addition, mangrove forests play a vital role in trapping sediments, thereby stabilizing coastlines and protecting coral reefs and sea grass meadows.