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The Red and Black Mangrove Trees of North America


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The Mangrove Swamp Forest Ecosystem of Florida
The Red and Black Mangrove Trees of North America

Mangroves at the Estuary Edge

Photo by Kim Nix
Only the extreme coastal areas of the southern half of Florida can support a mangrove forest ecosystem. Most of that tropical mangrove forest habitat is in and below the Everglades. The south-moving watershed of the Florida Everglades eventually integrates with the salty waters of the tidal estuaries. Salt tolerant "mangroves" form a vast, unique watery wilderness that embraces both brackish and salty coastal waters. Other associated tree species occurring in a mangrove swamp are gumbo-limbo, mahogany, buttonwood and Jamaica dogwood.

Brackish water is necessary for a healthy mangrove forest ecosystem. Draining and canal-building of the Everglades has been extremely disruptive to the mangrove habitat by releasing too much or too little fresh water into the estuaries. Natural disasters like hurricanes can cause some harm but not considered "catastrophic" and wild fire does not normally burn into these wet areas.

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