• Shoreline Protection
  • Nursery
  • Threatened Species and Endangered Species
  • Renewable Resource

Shoreline Protection

Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves
also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water
quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.


Serving as valuable nursery areas for shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes, mangroves are a critical
component of Florida's commercial and recreational fishing industries. These habitats provide a rich
source of food while also offering refuge from predation. Snook (Centropomus undecimalis), gray snapper
(Lutjanus griseus), tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), jack (Caranx spp.), sheepshead (Archosargus
probatocephalus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) all feed in the mangroves. Florida's fisheries would
suffer a dramatic decline without access to healthy mangrove habitats.

Threatened and Endangered Species

In addition to commercially important species, mangroves also support a number of threatened and
endangered species.

Threatened species include:
·        American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
·        green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
·        loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Endangered species include:
·        American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
·        hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
·        Atlantic ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
·        eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais)
·        Atlantic saltmarsh snake (Nerodia clarkii taeniata)
·        southern bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus)
·        peregrine falcon (Falco columbarius)
·        brown pelican (Pelicanus occidentalis)
·        Barbados yellow warbler ( Dendroica petechia petechia)
·        key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium)
·        West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus)

These species utilize mangrove systems during at least some portion of their life histories, while others
reside their entire life spans, feeding and nesting within the mangroves.

Renewable Resource

In other parts of the world, people have utilized mangrove trees as a renewable resource. Harvested for
durable, water-resistant wood, mangroves have been used in building houses, boats, pilings, and furniture.
The wood of the black mangrove and buttonwood trees has also been utilized in the production of charcoal.
Tannins and other dyes are extracted from mangrove bark. Leaves have been used in tea, medicine,
livestock feed, and as a substitute for tobacco for smoking. In Florida, beekeepers have set up their hives
close to mangroves in order to use the nectar in honey production.
Importance of Mangroves
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary