I work in a place where the land and ocean meet. It is a mangrove forest. Mangroves are a group of trees that rise from a tangle of roots deep in the mud.

These wetlands are tough. They can thrive in ocean water up to 100 times saltier than other plants can bear. And, they can withstand storms

Welcome to Brazil

On the coast of Brazil lie the longest continuous mangrove forests. Trees here are more than 40 meters (131 feet) high. They can store twice as much carbon in the soil as the nearby Amazon rainforest.

A scarlet ibis finds a home in the mangrove.

Shipworms nibble away at dead wood.

Mangroves teem with life. Crabs, fishes, birds, insects, and crocodiles find food and homes here. A striking mangrove bird is the scarlet ibis.

Shipworms keep mangroves healthy by eating dead wood. Crabs, fishes, birds, and insects find food and homes here. This transfers nutrients from one living thing to another. The wetlands are critical for fisheries and the timber industry.

The Power of Mangroves

We can see how mangroves protect us from natural hazards. They form a living barrier that shelters us from storms.

Mangroves reduce the impact of waves and high winds. They trap carbon, too. The dense roots of mangroves help to build and bind. The aboveground roots slow down water flow. That reduces erosion.

Mangroves are important places. We must learn to protect them in return for them protecting us.

I climbed into the roots of this tree to get a better look at the whole swamp.