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A lecture by Dr Peter Hogarth, University of York What are mangroves? To most people the word conjures up - if anything - an image of a fetid swamp, rife with dangerous beasts … This is true (up to a point!), but is only a part of the truth. Mangrove trees thrive where no other plants survive, and have evolved ways to cope with living in sea water and being permanently waterlogged. Because of this, they create a unique environment which would not otherwise exist: a tidal forest. Mangrove forests house and sustain a diverse and fascinating ecosystem. Why do they matter? (Apart from enthusing biologists, that is.) Any ecosystem with a total area, worldwide, 12 times greater than that of Yorkshire is important! More particularly, mangroves are the basis of local fisheries, shrimp farming, domestic fuel supply, construction materials, and tourism; they protect the coastline against typhoons and tsunamis; and it is becoming increasingly apparent that they will play a key role in our struggle to adapt to the effects of climate change.
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