Mangroves are certain areas in the tropics where seawater mixes with freshwater. This creates an ecosystem with certain plants. These include, above all, the mangrove trees. These trees are not separate species, but different ones that are collectively called that. However, a distinction is made between two groups: The western mangroves are found on the coasts of West Africa and America. The remaining mangroves are the eastern mangroves.
The trees grow directly on a coast or on a river that is close to the coast. The water is salty there, it is called brackish water. Saltwater is very harmful to most plants, so many other trees cannot grow there. But the mangroves have adapted to it. The advantage: without mangroves and their roots, a lot of coastal lands would crumble into the sea.
Mangroves filter out a lot of salt with their roots. Some species can direct the salt that gets into the tree toward the leaves. That’s where the salt comes from the tree. Or the salt gets into the leaves that the tree eventually sheds.
Thanks to the mangrove forests, many animals have a home. Fish, crabs, and other sea creatures live near the underwater roots. There are bird nests in the trees. Mammals and reptiles can also be found there. Humans can sometimes cut mangrove wood. The wood is processed into charcoal or burned, for example for cooking.