Mangrove forests live in the harsh and unpredictable interface between land and sea. They are composed of salt-tolerant trees and other plant species and they provide critical habitat for both marine and terrestrial life. Mangroves have specially adapted aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves that enable them to occupy the saline wetlands where other plant life cannot survive.
Mangroves protect coastal embankments from wave action, provide plenty of food and resting places for birds and marine creatures, help reduce pollution from inland rivers by acting as a filter for sediments, as well as protect biodiversity in coastal wetland. Their loss can prove disastrous in terms of coastline ecosystem functions and for people that rely on coastal resources.

Typical red mangrove with prop roots - characteristic of high salinity area , Mangroves roots serve as critical habitat for many species and nutrient filters. South Florida. Photo courtesy of OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP), NOAA.

Mangrove forests are regularly felled to make way for aquaculture, development, beaches, and many more. As populations by the coast increase, particularly in developed countries, more mangrove is cleared to build water front properties. However globally, as much as 50% percent of mangrove destruction in recent years has been due to clear cutting for shrimp farms.