Mangroves are trees or shrubs that occur in the upper intertidal zone on many low-energy tropical shorelines. Globally they cover 137,760 km 2 (Giri et al., 2011). Salt marshes and other coastal wetlands may occur landwards of mangrove vegetation, and seagrass may be extensive seawards. Mangroves are not a single taxonomic group, but comprise a diverse range of plants with adaptations enabling survival in this otherwise inhospitable saline and anaerobic environment. Mangrove forests are highly pro - ductive ecosystems that support both terrestrial and marine biodiversity. They are important habitats for fish and crustaceans on which humans are dependent. They also provide many other ecosystem services; both direct, in terms of timber and fuel; and indirect, by supporting biodiversity, providing physical protection of coasts, retaining sediments, and regulating nutrient and carbon exchange between terrestrial and marine environments. Mangrove forests are best developed where extensive near-horizontal topography occurs close to sea level. They cover substantial areas where there is a large tidal range; however, there are instances where isolated stands of mangroves persist inland where they are not influenced by tides. Wave energy has to be sufficiently low to allow establishment and growth of plants, but mature forests also act to attenuate wave energy.
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