Have you toured Key West’s back country mangrove islands?
These mangrove islands are dominated by three species – red, black, and white. We mostly see the red mangrove on our back country trips. The roots of these trees are either fully submerged in water or inundated daily with the tides. Mangrove communities are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world and that is especially true here in Key West.
Mangroves are important habitat for wildlife, above and below the water. The prop roots of the red mangrove are nursery areas to many commercially and recreationally important fin and shellfish aquatic species. Above the water, they are critical nesting, resting and feeding sites for many birds including wading birds like great white herons and reddish egrets, magnificent frigatebirds, white crowned-pigeon, osprey, bald eagles and resident and migratory songbirds, hawks and falcons.
Mangrove wetlands often separate the land from the sea and offer important protection from storm surges and hurricanes. They also slow down and filter runoff, assisting in keeping our waters clean and clear.