Mangrove Jungle and Mangrove Swamps
A Mangrove Swamp is a collection of salt-tolerant evergreen trees, and some White, Black, and Red Mangrove trees thriving in the inner most portions of the inter-tidal environments of the subtropics and tropics. A Mangrove Jungle is a collection of mostly Red Mangrove trees thriving in the nearshore tidal edge of landmass or a collection on tiny islands. The Mangrove Jungle is what tour operators like Sail Fish Scuba do their kayaking/snorkeling tours through. Water around these areas tend to have much cleaner and clearer appearance than the water near the more inland Mangrove Swamps. Mangrove Jungles are also known as the nursery for the living coral reefs. This is because the fish will swim in and deposit their eggs and young in these protected areas. Once these fish are large and strong enough they will make their way out to the living coral reef.
Mangrove Swamps line about eight percent of the World’s coastlines. These Swamps are extremely important because they filter pollutants from river and creek runoff and help prevent the silting up of the adjacent marine habitats. Over time with the collection of this silt they gather around their dense root systems, more land is formed. This expands the depth of the coast line. As their buds drop each year more small Mangrove Trees grow and add additional filtering. These Mangrove trees are some of the Worlds most important trees. The protection they provide from erosion of the coastline is priceless. They also provide a home for fish, invertebrates, and many other animals.
Mangrove Swamps develop in coastal areas that are directly protected from wave action. Some call these coastal lagoon areas. The buds of the mangrove trees float until they sprout tiny roots. Once roots are formed and they bump into an area of fine silty mud or sandy sediment they quickly secure their roots to this fragile base and begin their growth process. As the lower parts of the roots develop in this silt/mud/sandy sediment, aerial roots from a tangled network above it. This starts the process all over again of trapping passing silt and more sediment. Land is very slowly built over and over again by these magic trees.
Arial roots also assist in propping up the trees as they grow. Aerial roots also are the part of the mangrove tree that take in Oxygen, which is not available in the mud in which the mangrove grow in.
Location of Mangrove Jungle and Mangrove Swamps
Mangrove Jungles such as what we have in Key Largo, Fl. Keys and Mangrove Swamps like what we have in the Everglades of South Florida only thrive between latitudes 32’N and 38’S.
These trees have a unique job of protecting coastlines and are often thanked for the protection they provide to boaters and coastline home-owners when tropical storms pass by these areas.
Some 54 species of trees and shrubs are classified as “true” mangroves, occurring only in mangrove habitats. Some evolved adaptations to the conditions they grow in. In salty waters, like around Key Largo, Fl. Keys these mangroves can excrete salt in their leaves.
The areas closest to the sea which have the most tidal flow of water daily are where you find the mangrove trees known as Red Mangroves.
Pneumatophores: Roots of some mangroves develop pencil-like breathing tubes called pneumatophores.
When viewing under the water near these mangrove trees on the direct waters edge, you will able to see these.
These vertical tubes grow up ( starting their lives underwater completely ) anchored to the silty bottom. As they grow they create many massive horizontal roots. Once exposed to the air, they take in oxygen.
Red Mangroves get their name due to the reddish tint of their roots. Unlike nearly all other trees in the World, red mangroves are extremely tolerant of high concentrated level of salt in water.
Images of Red Mangrove:
Landward of the Red Mangroves, we find the Black Mangrove trees growing. Black Mangrove trees grow out the newly formed land which was created by the Red Mangroves and their amazing filtering and silt collection process.
White and Button Mangroves
Even farther landward you will see taller mangrove trees growing and these are known as White Mangroves and Button Mangroves. White and Button Mangroves are far less Saltwater tolerant and don’t thrive at the waters edge.