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The Mangrove Ecosystem

The mangrove ecosystem covers the flora, fauna and ground conditions with in the parameters of a mangrove. From the climatic conditions to the members and relationships in the food chain it’s dependent on the major resources available. The mangrove ecosystem is unique to its area between brackish and freshwater. The mangroves are vital to filtering out the salt from the water to enable the trees to grow.

The fauna will include the minute and the massive. The mangrove ecosystem offers shelter and living conditions to insects, birds, arachnids and mammals, from the tiny bush mouse to large mammals, lizards or water dwelling predators.

In the mangrove ecosystem the smallest creatures and plants are still important to the structure of the environment. From the smallest gnat to the largest predator, the relationship between the food chain is vital to the balance of the ecosystem.

Even the plants of the mangrove will become fodder for larger herbivores or small fish and water dwelling creatures. The mangrove ecosystem is balanced by the resources available. The number of trees is maintained by the number of animals or insects using them for their lifestyle or food sources. If the number of predators in the mangrove ecosystem should alter, then the food chain would be unbalanced right down to the fundamental level. Even a slight alteration in the mangrove ecosystem, due to floods, pollution, drought or human intervention, can lead to the destruction of the mangrove ecosystem itself.

The Mangrove Ecosystem
The Mangrove Ecosystem

The mangrove ecosystem is reliant on the balance being maintained, between growth and decay. While rotting plants, brackish water, carcasses and mulch can offer sustenance to some creatures, the death of a plant is still part of the mangrove ecosystem. The mulch provides the ideal place for germination of other seeds. All this is part of the balance of the mangrove ecosystem.

The mangrove ecosystem includes the life cycle of the larger animals too. Their living, reproducing, hunting and dying all effect the way the mangrove ecosystem achieves balance. Any variation to the numbers of creatures within the mangrove forest could change the fragile balance drastically. Too few predators could mean an over production of marine life species that relies on the mangroves. Once the balance is lost, it can be impossible to regain.

The delicate balance of the mangrove ecosystem is vital to the health and vitality of the mangrove itself. From climate conditions, water quality and quantity, to human intervention, or exploitation, the mangrove ecosystem is prone to influences that can alter it forever.