“IF there are no mangrove forests, then the sea will have no meaning. It is like having a tree with no roots, for the mangroves are the roots of the sea.” (Quote from a fisherman)
The Port Dickson town planners are getting ready for another massive reclaiming project which would change our shoreline once again. This offshore mega project will forever change the landscape of the Port Dickson coast.
Mangrove forests were once dismissed as swampy wastelands but developers, scientists and coastal dwellers have now come to value them for the remarkably diverse and important ecosystems they are.
Mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs work as a single system to keep coastal zones healthy. Mangroves provide the essential habitat for thousands of marine species.
They also stabilise shorelines, preventing erosion and protecting the land, and people who live there, from the effects of waves and storms.
Mangrove trees trap sediments and pollutants that would otherwise flow out to sea. Seagrass beds provide a further barrier to silt and mud that could smother the reefs. In return, the reefs protect the seagrass beds and mangroves from strong ocean waves. Without mangroves, this incredibly productive ecosystem would collapse.
The tonnes of leaves that fall from each acre of mangrove forest every year are the basis of an incredibly productive food web. As the leaves decay, they provide nutrients for invertebrates and algae. These in turn feed many small organisms such as sponges, worms and young fishes.
Tides also circulate nutrients among the mudflats, estuaries and coral reefs, thus feeding species like oysters that rest on the seabed.
When the seafront is reclaimed, fishermen would have to go out further to fish. The sad thing is most of our local fishermen are still using traditional methods.
I also hope the state authority would ensure that the public have access to the new coastline.