Mangrove seedlings in planting pots sitting alongside the Florida waters

The Importance of Mangroves

by Chuck Gestefield on Apr 12, 2018

Mangroves, otherwise known as MANGs, populate the subtropical and tropical coastlines throughout the world. Mangroves stand as a buffer between the land and ocean, facilitating life in brackish water environments.  Brackish water occurs where both fresh and salt water meet. These environments feature anoxic soils and harsh living conditions. Years of evolution have made mangroves one of the most resilient tree species, engineered to survive the harsh conditions of life along our coastlines.

In Florida, we have three species of mangroves: red, black and white. Red mangroves are known for their highly adaptive prop and drop root systems. These roots not only provide habitat for wildlife, but also aid in protecting our coastal shorelines by holding substrate back during times of tidal events. MANG habitats provide a multitude of resources for a variety of birds, fish, and crustacean species. 75% of all coastal species start life in the estuary.  Mangrove forests serve as barriers by protecting our shorelines from storm surges and the everyday elements of Mother Nature.

Why are Mangroves important? Without the help from ancient mangroves, it is said that Florida’s coastlines would have been shaped much differently. Mangroves provide all the essential nutrients to start life in the estuary. The leaves and bark that drop into the water break down into what scientists call detritus. This detritus kick-starts the food cycle for bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, crustaceans and shellfish.

Mangrove swamps are the most bio-diverse and productive environments on earth. Worldwide mangrove ecosystems are on the decline, and without a healthy abundance of mangrove ecosystems, our estuarine systems will begin to suffer. Due to coastal development, shrimp farming and basic needs for human survival, mangrove populations are suffering worldwide. Human intervention and a basic need to educate have begun to turn the tide by helping repopulate worldwide mangrove ecosystems. 

1 comment

  • Matt Landschoot
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:24

    As a Florida native, I just wanted to say that you guys are making great strides towards preserving our state fishing grounds, much love!!


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