What’s going on?
Although currently protected by Florida law, mangrove deforestation continues due to coastal and urban development. Since the 1900s, vital estuary habitats such as the Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor have lost 50-60% of their mangrove forests. Other environmental issues, including climate change and water pollution, also threaten mangroves by changing the distribution and chemistry of their environment. This may include increased storm events and sea-level rise.
Why it matters.
Mangrove forests provide critical habitats for crustaceans, birds, and fish, including many endangered species. They are home to several important species for commercial and recreational fishing industries, a significant part of Florida’s economy. Mangroves remove and store much more carbon per acre than terrestrial forests, making these ecosystems a significant player in fighting climate change.
Found right along the water’s edge, mangroves stabilize shorelines and reduce coastal erosion. They help prevent storm surges and damage to coastal properties during hurricanes and other storm events. Mangroves also improve water clarity and quality by trapping sediments and absorbing nutrients that would obscure or pollute the water.
What you can do.
- Learn more about current threats to mangroves around the state!
- Support local and government organizations’ efforts to conserve and protect mangrove forests.
- If you live on or near a coastal property, practice proper mangrove trimming guidelines.
- Mangrove Trimming Best Management Practices by UF/IFAS Extension Miami-Dade