For much of the United States, salt marshes are the predominant coastal wetland ecosystems. But in Florida and along parts of the Gulf Coast, mangroves rule! Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees that grow along tropical and subtropical coasts and estuaries. In Florida, three types of mangroves predominate: the red, black and white mangroves. If you’ve boated along the coast, you’re probably most familiar with the red variety usually found closest to shore. The black mangrove, the tallest of three species, grows upland to the reds. And the white is found at even higher elevations. Like salt marshes, mangrove swamps and stands provide nurseries and refuges for countless species of fish and other animals, protection from storm surges, and shore stabilization.
Viewer Tip: There are more than half a million acres of mangroves in Florida. In most cases, you are prohibited by law from cutting mangroves. In fact, you can’t cut, trim, remove or alter them in any way. The best rule of thumb: Don’t attempt to cut a mangrove even if it’s on your property. While there are rare exceptions, check first with your homeowners association, local or city agencies, or, better yet, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (www.dep.state.fl.us) before cutting or trimming.
This information is provided by Restore America’s Estuaries. Learn more at www.estuaries.org.