Mangrove Forests Line SW Florida Coastal Region
Posted by Benjamin Dona on Sunday, April 11th, 2010 at 9:01pm.
Mangrove forest is the most extensive natural marine vegetation lining the coastal habitat in Southwest Florida. Most visitors notice them right away - large, green, leafy trees that dominate the shoreline. And, even though many folks consider them undesirable, they are a symbol for the area and are now protected by Florida law. There are three species that are native to Florida: red, black and white mangroves. Each has adapted uniquely to thrive in and around salt water.
Types of Mangroves Native to Florida
Red mangrove is the most common and is easily recognized by its large tangled mass of reddish color roots. They also provide necessary support for the tree and along with their sprawling canopies, offer important habitat for numerous birds, fish and invertebrates. Although less common, white and black mangroves distinguish themselves by their massive height, 50 feet or more in many cases. Many impressive strands can be found from Naples south to the Ten Thousand Islands area, known to be one of the few pristine mangrove forested estuaries in the entire county.
Why Mangroves are Important to the Peninsula
Mangrove shorelines serve many other important functions other than to be preserves for wildlife. They act like giant filters that clean the tidal flow and they buffer the coastal region during hurricanes and storm surges. According to researchers, their presence in many areas has saved both lives and property during the numerous tropical storms that affect the coastal areas each year. Without them Southwest Florida would not be the glorious playground it is today.
So, the next time you get the chance, take a stroll or a boat ride along the coast. You'll surely be amazed by these gifts from nature.
Here's a couple of great state parks that are easily accessible where you can go exploring: Barefoot Beach and Lover's Key - For more information, visit floridastateparks.org.
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