It has recently been hypothesised by Neil Saintilan and his group of scientists in Australis that the moon's long-term tidal cycles are responsible for the growth of mangrove forests. This information has the potential to help forecast when mangrove stands will flourish, hence aiding in their protection and restoration.
Mangroves are trees found along coastlines, hosting thousands of animal species and protecting against erosion. Due to anthropogenic activities, agricultural practices, and pollution, they are in danger of being destroyed.
“the moon's long-term tidal cycles are responsible for the growth of mangrove forests“
Neil Saintilan used data to discover how the forests growth created a pattern, both regarding the canopy and the overall forest size. He said he “saw this 18-year oscillation.”
A similar pattern can be seen in the moon's tilted orbit of Earth gently tilts taking 18.6 years.
(Semidiurnal) tides, produced when the moon orbits at the smallest tilt angle, have a wider intertidal range. These same tides appeared to cause mangrove forests to grow taller and thicker, with other climatic growth factors, such as El Niño, being overshadowed by this phenomenon.
Scientists “should be more proactive” by using this information to encourage the establishment of mangroves during these periods of high growth. Mangroves ability to sequent carbon is invaluable in combatting the climate crisis, therefore their protection and redevelopment is vital to achieving the world’s climate goals.
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