Mangrove are woody trees or shrubs that grow in coastal habitats or mangal (Hogarth, 1999), for which the term mangrove swamp also would apply. Mangrove plants occupy shallow water and intertidal zones in tropical and subtropical coastal regions, usually where protected from direct wave action, and thus characterized by muddy or fine sediment substrata.
The mangal is often considered a type of biome. Mangrove habitat is exclusively tropical and tidal, and therefore having soil or sediment that is water-logged and saline or of variable salinity. Areas where mangal occurs includes estuaries and marine shorelines. A wide variety of plant species can be found in mangrove habitat, but some 54 species in 20 genera, belonging to 16 families constitute the "true mangroves" — species that occur almost exclusively in mangrove habitats and rarely elsewhere (Hogarth, 1999).
The roots of the mangrove plants stabilize the sand and mud. In areas of the world where mangroves have been removed for development purposes, the coastline has been subject to rapid erosion. They also provide a habitat for wildlife and serve as a natural buffer to strong winds and waves produced by cyclones. In Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and India, mangrove plantations are grown in coastal regions for this purpose. They can protect against tsunamis.
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