Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mangroves: Southwest Florida's Coastal Treasure

Southwest Florida is blessed to have some of the most beautiful Mangrove Forests remaining in the world.  These salt resistant trees thrive along the shallow coast and provide habitat for a myriad of creatures and protection from storm winds and tides.

The Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is found at water's edge....easily identified by it's prop roots.

Here's a wonderful tour of Mangrove Swamps

Mangroves are best explored by kayak as the water is shallow and the forest all but impenetrable on foot.

Red Mangrove prop roots

Yellow Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea).

A tangle of mangle
Mangrove forests purify fresh water runoff from the land and also contamination from the Gulf water.

Called "Walking Trees" by early settlers, Mangroves are true Florida natives.

Boardwalk through White Mangroves (Laguncularia recemosa) at Four Mile Ecological Preserve in Cape Coral, Florida

Kayaking in the Charlotte Harbor estuary

Into another Mangrove tunnel toward hidden lagoons.

Evening at harbor's edge.  Ponce De Leon Park, Punta Gorda, Florida

There are lots of great kayaks for Mangrove exploration.  Current Designs is my favorite.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in the shallows.

Mangroves form new islands and eventually new shorefront.

Paddling into a Mangrove tunnel.

Red Mangrove blossom

Don Pedro State Park is a great spot to observe Mangroves, both from the shore and in the water.

Red Mangrove seeds drop into the water and take root wherever they find a suitable spot.

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) in the flats.

Red Mangrove seedpods

Mote Marine Labs biologist tagging juvenil snook (Centropomus undecimalis).

Sierra Club Florida...working for all of our environment.

Kesemat Mangrover is working to restore Indonesia's Mangroves after the Tsunami of 2004.

Here's a link to the Mangrove Action Project.  The work on preservation and restoration of these fascinating coastal forests. is working to preserve this resource.

I hope you will visit our wonderful Mangrove Forests here in Southwest Florida.


  1. Thank you for taking time to organize the mangrove story. With mangrove it seems hope springs eternal with the mangrove, cleansing water and building islands.....walking trees indeed. Some new information for me.

  2. Great story. I try not to get too close to the mangroves when I'm kayaking. Those little black crabs that are crawling all over them around here can creep me out.

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