» Country? Thailand.
» In a few words, what is the idea? Between the land and the sea, this is a unique ecosystem and Thailand offers a great opportunity to visit it. Perhaps the traveller can make a small change to enjoy a more exciting experience.
» Duration? Half-day.
» For whom? Nature fans, kayak lovers and keen on awesome landscapes.
» Where? Krabi coast.
» When? All year long.
Mangrove ecosystems are unique and extremely valuable in terms of biodiversity. What is special about them is that the plants that grow there are able to colonise a land that is forbidden territory for other species. It is neither firm land nor is it a body of water – everything depends on the tide.
What we would like to propose is that you change your regular visiting times in order to take in beautiful landscapes and increase your chances of sighting rare wildlife.
By the way, do not forget the mosquito repellent, it is necessary abundant.
Mangroves form a unique ecosystem where no other plant can survive, on the border between solid land when the tide is low and underwater at high tide.
In Thailand, they are present both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In this case, the footage is from a National Park close to Krabi and Ao Nang.
Life in such an environment has to deal with two particular challenges – seawater salinity and the flooding of the soil, which, among other things, causes a lack of the oxygen the roots need to breathe.
Salt concentration in any living organism has the same effect as water as a sponge, it absorbs it and if nothing is done, the living organism becomes dehydrated and dies.
The mangrove tree that grows in a mangrove has several mechanisms to cope with these challenges. One is specialised glands that pump salt outwards from the tissues and deposits it on the undersides of the leaves, on the stem and, in some species, on the oldest leaves that fall and take a part of the excess salt with them.
As for the lack of oxygen in the flooded soil, the mangrove makes up for that by growing shallow roots from which the so-called pneumatophores emerge, which enable it to breathe during low tide. It also has a particularly porous tissue that facilitates oxygenation of parts underwater.
Another unique feature of the mangrove is its aerial roots that emerge from the bottom of the trunk and drop to the ground – apart from supplying nutrients, they help to keep the plant steady against tidal movements.
The forest of underwater roots and the constant production of loose leaves are of enormous value to the ecosystem. They provide shelter and sustenance for many marine and land species and protect the coastal soil from sea erosion.
On this occasion, we suggest you visit a mangrove by changing your typical timetable so that you are already in the mangrove at sunrise.
If you hire the services of an expert guide and your group goes alone, you will be able to choose a more secluded route and keep a lower profile, which will enable you to appreciate the ambience of the forest and to observe its inhabitants, which is no easy task.
You’ll also be able to take better photos. When the sun is high, the sharp contrast between the light reflected by the tops of the trees and the shade produced by the forest canopy is a hindrance for photographers. So you will be thankful you avoided the midday hours.
Finally, and even though it is obvious, it is important to remember that the guide knows the nature reserve very well and is acquainted with the tides.
Carry a good supply of mosquito repellent, wear proper, secure footwear in case you have to get out of the boat and, as always when you go on a boat, carry a waterproof bag for your camera, some disinfectant and bandages.
Please do not miss the video, recorded in the early hours of the day.