You may have heard about Florida’s famous mangroves — a positively iconic part of the state. They are a huge attraction for tourists — and for good reason. But what, exactly, are mangroves? And why are they so popular? That is what we’ll be looking at in today’s blog.
There are so many unforgettable, life-changing activities that you can do in Florida. Luckily, Keys Skis & Adventures is here to help make your dreams a reality. From jet ski rentals to kayaking and so much more, your dream vacation to Key Largo is at your fingertips. All you have to do is reach out to us to get started.
In preparation for your dream vacation, let’s take a deep dive into the Florida mangroves to see what makes these areas so special.
1. Mangroves are Specially-Adapted Plants
So, first things first — what are mangroves? Mangroves can be more accurately thought of as “mangrove forests” since they are trees and shrubs that are specially-adapted for saltwater conditions. Mangrove forests are not exclusive to Florida, though they only grow at tropical and subtropical latitudes near the equator because they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. They thrive in salty environments because they can obtain freshwater from saltwater. Some secrete excess salt through their leaves, while others block absorption of salt at their roots.
Mangrove trees are so striking and so iconic because of their dense, tangling root systems. These root systems are winding and twisted and stand above the waterline (some of the time) in such a way that the trees appear to be propped up on stilts. As striking as these root systems are, their stilt-like qualities have been adapted to withstand the rising tides (which is why they’re not always visible). The tangled roots also slow the movement of tidal waters, causing sediments to settle out of the water and build up the muddy bottom.
2. Mangrove Forests Stabilize the Coastline and Contribute to the Ecosystem
Mangroves do more than just look beautiful. They are key players in the overall functioning of their ecosystem. Their growth patterns actually protect waterway coastlines from erosion. This helps prevent overall damage to the areas during severe storms and unexpected events such as surges, currents, waves, and tides.
The main contribution of mangroves to the larger ecosystem comes from debris falling from the trees, which is then decomposed by primary consumers. Bacteria and protozoans colonize the plant litter and break it down chemically into organic compounds, minerals, carbon dioxide, and nitrogenous wastes.
3. Florida is Home to Huge Mangrove Forests
You can experience the breathtaking mangrove forests yourself with our jet ski rentals, kayak rentals, and more. And there will be plenty to explore, that’s for sure! There is an estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests in Florida alone! Mangroves line more than 1,800 miles of shoreline within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The best part? You can see it for yourself! If you’re ready to experience the glory of Florida’s mangrove forests, then contact Keys Skis & Adventures today!