Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

download word file, 10 pages 5.0

Abstract Mangroves swamps are biologically rich ecosystems mostly characterized by unique trees and shrubs that have adapted in certain ways to tolerate the salty environment they thrive in. Typically found in intertidal zones of the world's tropics they are what separates land from the sea thus are very important in protecting the terrain from erosion. Their world distribution ranges from Asia to South America to Australia, but some of the largest concentrations of mangrove swamps are found in Florida, specifically the everglades. Housing some of the most remarkable plants and animals in the world, mangrove swamps play major roles in stabilizing the ecological relationships of the biotic coastal environment. Many people living near the coastlines depend on the mangrove trees for survival since they provide wood, medicines, and a source of food for the residents. The elaborate labyrinths of the mangrove tree's roots offer nursery grounds for vast numbers of fish and other marine organisms.

Their existence affects the survival of many endangered species of wildlife. Unfortunately these essential ecosystems have been greatly degraded through man's activity in building houses and the development of industry. It is crucial to understand the role of the mangroves to fully appreciate their existence, and by destroying their environment we are really hurting ourselves in the long run.

Key words: Florida, distribution, red, white, black mangroves, ecology, flora, fauna, habitat, fish, coastal erosion, food industry, root systems, endangered species, exploitation, salt, conservation, nutrient cycling, Gulf Coast, soil, pollution Introduction The majority of people are unfamiliar with the term "mangrove"� and it's not surprising since it creates much confusion among researchers as well. Two very similar terms contribute the misunderstanding of what mangrove swamps really define- mangal and mangrove. It was established that "mangal"� would refer to the ecosystem community itself and "mangrove"� would exclusively...