Saturday, October 26, 2013


I just want to share one of the many facets of the Layag-Layag Community! 
First, and foremost, the Layag-Layag Village is a Mangrove community!
The place is just off Barangay Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City, which is about 4-5 km from the City center and about another 10 to 15 minutes by boat! 
Talon-Talon is just about 4 to 5 kms from the center of Zamboanga City but we turn at the Talon-Talon Elementary School to the Salt Beds and find our way to theMangroves where we ride the boat about 10 to 15 minutes to their community.
On the way to Layag-Layag!
Mangroves are plants living in the tidal coastal areas between sea and land.   The term has been applied to any and all species of trees which occupy this zone of life.    All share the trait of being able to tolerate partial submersion in high salinity water, and poor oxygen content in the ground where their roots penetrate. 
"Mangrove plants produce on average about a quarter of a pound of litter (bark, leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers, etc.) per square foot per year (1 kg/square meter/yr).   Some of this is directly consumed by small animals, like crabs and fishes, but most of it has to be broken down further before the nutrients are available to other animals or plants.   Because of the amount of organic material to be broken down, the mud at the bottom of the mangrove forest (which is underwater much or all of the time) has a very high concentration of bacteria.   In fact, a typical teaspoon of mud from a mangrove has more than 10 billion bacteria in it. "
Mangrove rehabilitation: planting new mangrove plants
Since the mud in the mangrove is so thick with litter, bacteria, and the end result of lots of decomposition, it has very little oxygen.   So instead of absorbing oxygen through their underground roots (stilt roots), like many plants, the mangrove plant has developed long roots which come up out of the water into the air before joining the trunk of the plant.   The roots have "breathing" cells above water called lenticels which draw in air.   These cells have one weakness, which is that they can be smothered by a light coating of oil.   So an oil spill can very easily kill an entire mangrove forest by suffocation.
Exactly as my friend, Harry was afraid of, the mud in the Mangroves are so thick with litter and bacteria, including Vibrio!
Mangroves also come in different size and shape... and its age also adds character to the tree!
The roots also vary like the peg roots, which look like sticks and the stilt roots, which look like branches directed to the floor.
older mangroves
Pneumatophores or peg roots penetrate the sand surrounding a mangrove tree.
Here we are now passing through the mangroves as we leave the village...
Photo credit: Michelle Lim
This is the first time for me to appreciate the beauty of the mangroves up close.
I want to share some tips on Protecting Mangroves: 
HOW CAN WE HELP TO PROTECT MANGROVES? Some simple ways to help protect mangroves are: fence along the intertidal zone and prevent stock access to mangrove areas, design riverfront structures such as jetties or boat ramps to avoid or minimise impacts to mangroves, avoid walking, riding or driving through mangrove areas at low tide,  dispose of rubbish, oils and chemicals in the correct manner
P.S. The captions I have placed come from this website:

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