Lagoons are popular for their natural scenic beauty. They also contribute in the development of mangrove vegetation, production of salt, the formation of habitats for the migrating birds, providing protection from the storm surge, and also anchorage to ships & boats.
Whereas mangroves are found in areas, which are formed of “low-oxygen” soil, where sediments are allowed to accumulate by the slow-moving waters. Mangrove vegetation can be found in both tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Mangroves are developed in the sub-tropical regions beside the line of the equator, as mangrove vegetation cannot grow in the freezing temperature. Mangrove forests are quite common in lagoons and many estuaries. In the puttlam – Kalpitiya lagoon, one can find the largest mangrove vegetation of Sri Lanka.
The mangroves can be easily identified with the densely tangled prop roots, which makes appear the tree to be tilting outside. The uneven daily tides are easily handled by the tangled roots. This also means that mangroves remain flooded at two times a day. Another function of these tangled roots is to slow down the movement of tides, which actually creates the repository of mud slits at the bottom.
Mangrove forests play an important part in stabilizing the coast, by reducing the erosion that gets triggered by the storm, violent waves and coastal tides. The tangling roots also make the mangroves attractive for the fishes to settle in. Apart from fishes, there are many another predator who seeks shelter as well food at the base of the mangrove vegetation.
Over 50 different mangrove specifies are found in Sri Lanka, based on the climatic conditions. Around ten thousand hectares, around the lagoons as well as estuaries covered by the mangroves. One can experience the golden rays of sun piercing the mangroves, touching the surface. Tourists enjoy the mangroves on boats while watching bird wild cats and different forms of reptiles.
Mangroves contribute to the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide released to the environment by various forms of combustions.
The distribution of mangroves is not equal, and it depends from one place to another. Some of the famous mangroves which are visited by the tourists frequently are Mawella, Garaduwa (Southern Coast),Rekawa, Kalametiya,Ratgama, Koggala, Telwatta, Hikkaduwa, Maduganga, Madampa, Kosgoda (Southwest Coast), Negombo, Lunawa, Bolgoda,Mathurajawela (West Coast) , Muthupanthiya (North Western coast) and Mundal.