Because of their environment, mangroves are necessarily tolerant of high salt levels and have mechanisms to take up water despite strong osmotic potentials.
Some also take up salts, but excrete them through specialized glands in the leaves.
Mangroves create unique ecological environments that host rich assemblages of species.
The muddy or sandy sediments of the mangal are home to a variety of epibenthic, infaunal, and meiofaunal invertebrates Channels within the mangal support communities of phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish.
So far, conservation and management efforts lag behind the destruction; there is still much to learn about proper management and sustainable harvesting of mangrove forests. They protect and stabilize coastlines, enrich coastal waters, yield commercial forest products and support coastal fisheries.
Mangrove forests are among the world's most productive ecosystems, producing organic carbon well in excess of the ecosystem requirements and contributing significantly to the global carbon cycle.
Mangrove systems require intensive care to save threatened areas.
Diversion of freshwater for irrigation and land reclamation has destroyed extensive mangrove forests.
In the past several decades, numerous tracts of mangrove have been converted for aquaculture, fundamentally altering the nature of the habitat.
Living at the interface between land and sea, mangroves are well adapted to deal with natural stressors (e.g. However, because they live close to their tolerance limits, they may be particularly sensitive to disturbances like those created by human activities.
Because of their proximity to population centers, mangals have historically been favored sites for sewage disposal.