The Everglades’ Mangrove Forests

Mangrove forests are something of out a fairytale. The beautiful roots intermingling with each other as they reach down into the water and line the waterways. Florida is lucky enough to be home to 469,000 aces of mangrove forests, and the Everglades has the largest mangrove forest in North America. These mangrove forests can only survive in subtropical and tropical climates.

Mangroves drop their seeds, which get carried by water/winds and the seeds can grow easily in other areas.

Florida houses three species of mangroves: the red mangrove, the black mangrove, and the white mangrove.

The red mangrove is the most popular and most seen mangrove. It can tolerate salt water and grows in areas with low-oxygen soil. It can remove and use freshwater from saltwater to life. Their roots are known as prop roots, so the plant looks like it’s standing on the water. These tall roots help the mangroves handle rising tides. These roots are reddish.

Black mangroves can be found at a higher elevation than the red mangrove. This mangrove has finger-like growths that protrude from the soil around the trunk of the tree.

White mangroves can be found at the highest elevations of these three species. This mangrove’s roots do not show, and it has light, yellow-green leaves.

Mangroves help protect the Everglades and Florida coastline. How? They help reduce erosion with their roots. They block winds, waves, floods, tides, and storm surges from damaging the land. The bigger, winder, denser, and thicker the forest, the more it can protect the environment.

Mangroves also help the ecosystem by filtering water and dropping leaves. The fallen leaves break down into organic compounds, carbon dioxide, and nitrogenous wastes, which benefits the entire ecosystem.

These forests also provide a home and protection for different species of birds and marine life.

Mangroves are disappearing. In fact, almost half of the world’s mangrove forests have disappeared in the past 50+ years, according to the national conservation organization American Forests. This organization said the world continues to lose 578 square miles of mangroves per year due to shrimp farming, climate change, and coastal development. The state of Florida has protected areas have mangrove forests.

Sailing by these mangroves is unreal. They’re a truly magical sight. If you want to see some mangroves, get on an airboat! To schedule an airboat tour, click our Everglades airboat ride page or contact Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065.