Mangrove forests are some of the most crucial ecosystems on Earth. They provide a buffer zone from heavy waves and storm action, which is important for inhabitants on land as well as the fish and marine creatures that raise their young in the calm waters of mangrove swamps. That means mangrove swamps provide huge economic benefits while also providing homes for a massively diverse group of species.
That means their disappearance is a massive problem. Mangrove forests cover about half as much area as they once did, much of which has come in the last three decades. It has been estimated that 35 percent of mangrove swamps were lost between 1980 and 2000, and a 2010 study showed that loss may have actually been more severe. Worse, the vast majority of mangroves left aren't protected.
“Our assessment shows, for the first time, the exact extent and distribution of mangrove forests of the world at 30 meters spatial resolution, the highest resolution ever,” said Dr Chandra Giri, who was part of the 2010. “This reveals that 75% of the remaining forest is found in just 15 countries, out of which only ~6.9% is protected under the existing protected areas network.”
That's why I enjoyed the below video from Dennis Zaidi, which shows the beauty of mangroves in Bimini, Bahamas. The overlaid text might be a bit much, but don't let it distract you from the beauty of the mangroves. I've spent time cruising around them in Costa Rica and Panama, and can personally vouch that they're as rad as Zaidi portrays them.