This is a close-up photograph of mangrove roots in the shallow waters of Cooper Bayou, an inter-coastal waterway leading into the Tampa Bay. Mangrove are found throughout Tampa Bay and Florida. Below is excerpt on the importance of mangroves and how protecting this ecosystem may be key to climate change mitigation.
Mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses form much of the earth’s blue carbon sinks. These coastal vegetations sequester carbon far more effectively (up to 100 times faster) and more permanently than terrestrial forests. Further, studies have shown that per hectare, mangrove forests store up to five times more carbon than most other tropical forests around the world. This ability of mangroves and other coastal vegetation to store such large amounts of carbon is, in part, due to the deep, organic rich soils in which they thrive. The entangled root systems of mangroves, which anchor the plants into underwater sediment, slow down incoming tidal waters, allowing organic and inorganic material to settle into the sediment surface. The sediments beneath these habitats are characterized by typically low oxygen conditions, slowing down the decay process and rates, resulting in much greater amounts of carbon accumulating in the soil. In fact, mangroves have more carbon in their soil alone than most tropical forests have in all their biomass and soil combined. – See more at: http://www.recoftc.org/site/resources/Mangroves-more-Carbon-Rich-and-Important-for-Climate-Change.php#sthash.NtrLh1ju.dpuf