The Beautiful Mangroves of Malaysia
Malaysian Mangroves

Our Malaysian coastlines have large swathe of Mangroves which we normally take for granted. More so because its usually near the sea or muddy river mouths that would require us to wear ‘Phua Chu Kang’ yellow boots to get near.

What are Mangroves?

They are trees and shrubs growing in saline coastal sediment habitats within the tropics and sub tropics.

They are so adaptive that it enables them to survive in highly  saline and poorly oxygenated soil. Their leaves can excrete salt, have fruits that germinate while attached to parent plant (aka viviparous breeding), have stilt and buttress prop roots to support them in muddy substrate and have pneumatophore roots, ie aerial roots that can breathe.

 

What good are Mangroves?

Thanks for asking. Known variously as ‘’ roots of the sea, forest of the sea, skin of our oceans, and nursery of the oceans”, mangroves play a huge role in our ecology.

Mangroves

  • Prevent coastal erosion and mitigate flood
  • Filter rubbish which otherwise may end up in the ocean
  • Nursery for juvenile fish and other marine life
  • Protect coral reef
  • Improve water quality
  • Absorb impact of tidal waves and tsunami
  • Provide habitat for migratory birds and other endangered species of animals
  • Provide piling materials for construction, charcoal making and wood carvings like that done by Mah Meri Orang Asli (aborigines in Carey Island near Klang)
  • Has medicinal values and is used for making activated charcoal recommended for food poisoning
  • …and the list goes on

Mangrove classifications

  • Red mangrove
  • White Mangrove
  • Black Mangrove

Old world classification may have impressive names like

  • Avicennia
  • Sonneratia
  • Rhizophora
  • Brugueira
  • Etc

What’s found in our mangrove forest and their uses?

  • Nyireh Batu (xylocarpus moluccensis) – used by Mah Meri tribesmen to make their ceremonial mask and wood carvings to ward of evil…let take a tour to Carey Island
  • Pokok Jeruju (acanthus ebracteatus) – pounded seeds to cure boils, leave juice to prevent hair loss and its prickly leaves to ward off evil spirits
  • Bakau Kurap(rhizophora mucronate) -firewood and charcoal, roots used to cure diarrhoea
  • Pokok buta buta (excoecaria agallocha) – its milky latex can cause blindness, thus its name buta buta, its leaves used to kill fish
  • And many more

 

What’s next?

Let me take you to a mangrove forest about 20 km from Klang that has a 700 metre boarded walkway that will enable you to see these the wonderful flora and fauna that is so distinct .

Watch monkeys, crabs, birds and even snakes. Learn more about these forest that proved saviour when the 2004 tsunami hit our shores.

Get in touch with me for a personal tour.

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