The coastal zone is the interface between land and sea, this zone extends its influence on the intertidal environment and beyond.
These areas also cover the watershed draining into coastal areas and are interrelated, interdependent and enclosed multiple ecosystems.
As we debated in the coral reef article, the coast is a system-integration, we have a coastal zone, ports and waterways, land uses (agriculture), human settlements and activities causing pressure over it. Therefore, it is complex and difficult to manage these areas.
This ecosystem has an intrinsic biological value, and it is important to people, because it is one of the most productive zones, in economic terms as well. The intertidal zone gives rise to many plants and animals species, some of which form a large part of the human diet, in addition, provides other economic benefits, safeguard to storms, surf and other climate changes that threatened livelihood and well-being. All of this without considering other economic activities like tourism.
Why are mangroves important?
The productivity of these habitats is based on microbial breakdown of plant matter by bacteria and fungi. This waste formed the basis for an elaborate food chain. Also, mangroves’ root network system serves as a nursery ground for many species of invertebrates like mussels, sponges, tunicates, hydroids, oyster and vertebrates like fishes and birds.
One vital function not well known is the role of “waste treatment”, which removes many pollutants and processes land-based nutrients that adversely affect marine ecosystems.
The adequate planning of human pressure over this ecosystem is the best chance we have for developing a healthy economy around it.