While not a specimen of the famed Trufula Tree, in the dawn light, with its branches grasping towards a blossoming sun, this mangrove struck me as particularly Seussesque. The Trufula Tree, for those of you who are not aware, featured in the Dr Seuss book The Lorax which is one of the first works of mainstream popular children’s culture to discuss the issue of man’s disrespect for the environment.
This morning was an absolute stunner. The morning light held out for nearly two hours, and I was able to wander up and down the beach at my leisure and set up and carefully consider multiple shots. The sun lit up the trees in golden glory and the contours of the sand banks along the tidal flats were visible in full relief. There were ospreys out perched in branches, staring out to sea, and I came away with a total of 12 keepers from the morning.
These magnificent ecosystems are mangroves. We owe an awful lot to mangroves – they provide nurseries for coral reef fish (check out some maps – you can see that the there are coastal mangrove systems adjacent to just about every area of coral reefs in the world); they are the livers of the land – filtering out all the sedimentation and poisonous discharges (heavy metals) from our rivers before the water enters the sea.
Mangroves are unique in that they are the only trees on the planet that are adapted to salt water using their roots that are capable of breathing in many ingenious ways.
But foreshore development is destroying these intricate mazes of natural beauty. Unfortunately the development companies operate in competition, not as a homogenous unit, so the response to any single development on mangroves is “It’s just one”. But, with every company doing this, and with available foreshore land becoming rarer and rarer, the competition has become more and more ruthless, and mangrove systems are now deemed fair play for development applications – take a look at this. Even in the U.S., there are laws protecting mangrove trees from being destroyed and developers are required to create new mangrove wetlands for any that are destroyed during construction projects.
I took this picture as the sun breached the clouds above the horizon, lighting up the water and the front of the tree. The tree’s empty branches fan out through the sunrise and its pencil roots breathe in the morning air as the sun envelopes them with its warming rays.