What US States Have Mangroves?
by Nick Hammond on Jul 27, 2022
Mangroves are tropical trees that grow in coastal wetlands. In the continental United States, mangroves are found in only three states: Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Mangroves thrive in warm, shallow waters and provide critical habitat for fish, crabs, birds, and other wildlife.
Florida has by far the largest coverage of mangroves in the United States, accounting for over 90% of all US mangrove forests. There are estimated to be over 500,000 acres of mangroves spread across the southern half of Florida from the Tampa Bay area southward. The three main species of mangrove trees found in Florida are:
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) - The most abundant mangrove species in Florida, it has distinctive arching prop roots and elongated seedlings called propagules. It dominates the water's edge throughout the state.
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) - The black mangrove grows farther inland and has pencil-like root projections called pneumatophores that extend up out of the soil for gas exchange. It is found alongside red mangroves in subtropical Florida.
- White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) - Often growing even farther inland, the white mangrove lacks visible aerial roots and is identified by its rounded green leaves and twiggy appearance.
The largest mangrove forests are located along the southern tip of Florida. Extensive mangrove ecosystems are found in Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys, Ten Thousand Islands, Rookery Bay, and Biscayne Bay. Along the Gulf Coast, mangroves line much of Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the coastal islands. The mangrove forests along the southwest Florida coast serve as vital breeding and feeding grounds for birds, fish, manatees, and other wildlife. They also help buffer the coast against storm surge and erosion.
Compared to Florida, Louisiana has relatively small mangrove forests, totaling approximately 35,000 acres concentrated primarily in the Mississippi River Delta. The two mangrove species found in Louisiana are:
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) - The predominant mangrove species, forming dense shrub-like stands along waterways and tidal flats.
- White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) - Grows sparsely as an associate species among the black mangroves.
Major mangrove areas are located within the Delta National Wildlife Refuge and Breton National Wildlife Refuge. These nationally protected wetlands harbor the majority of Louisiana's remaining mangrove forests. The mangroves exist within an ecosystem of marshland and provide an important transitional habitat.
Texas has a tiny remnant of mangroves located on the southern tip of the state near the Laguna Madre. There are approximately 7,000 acres of mangroves in Texas, predominantly consisting of one species:
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) - Makes up the majority of the mangrove forests scattered along the Texas Gulf Coast.
So in summary, the vast majority of mangrove coverage in the continental United States is found in Florida, where mature mangrove forests line much of the southern half of the state. Louisiana and Texas have relatively small amounts of mangroves in isolated coastal wetlands areas along the Gulf of Mexico. Mangrove ecosystems in the US are important for coastal wildlife and help protect shorelines from storms and erosion.
When you purchase from MANG you join a movement of people who are banded together to protect, preserve and restore our ecosystems. The future depends upon stewards like you stepping up to the cause to protect our Earth today.