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Why Are Mangroves Important?

 

The mangrove community is valued for its protection and stabilization of lowlying coastal lands and its importance in estuarine and coastal fishery food chains. Mangrove forests protect uplands from storm winds, waves, and floods. The amount of protection afforded by mangroves depends upon the width of the forest. Mangroves can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems.

The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish. Seventy-five percent of the game fish and ninety percent of the commercial species in south Florida are dependent on mangrove ecosystems (Law and Pywell FRC-43). They provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oysters, and shrimp.

Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves. Mangroves serve as rookeries, or nesting areas, for beautiful coastal birds such as brown pelicans and roseate spoonbills.