Alexis wrote today’s entry:
Rhizophora mucronata is a mangrove tree with a widespread native range from East Africa and India to southeastern Asia, northeastern Australia and islands of the South Pacific. Like other Rhizophora, this species grows in intertidal zones, has stilt roots, is tolerant of salt water, and prefers wet and silty growing conditions. Commonly known as red mangrove or Asiatic mangrove, this species has brown-black bark and leathery leaves that have distinct black dots on their undersurface. Its flowers have deeply lobed pale yellow to white sepals (as shown in the photo) and lanceolate petals of a similar colour that have hairy edges. Common to many flowers that are wind-pollinated, Rhizophora flowers have no fragrance.
Mangrove ecosystems play an important role in the natural environment by stabilizing sediments and acting as barriers against coastal and wind erosion. They protect many shellfish and fish species and also nearby coral reefs. Additionally, local people use mangrove trees for constructing houses and tools and develop surrounding areas for agriculture and shrimp & fish farming. According to the Forestry and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as of 2007, 3.6 million hectares or 20% of total mangrove area has been lost worldwide since 1980. Though some countries such as Bangladesh have increased their mangrove area through conservation efforts, many mangrove systems are still threatened by human activities like aquaculture, tourism, and infrastructure development. Rhizophora mucranata in particular is desired for restoration efforts.