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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Mangroves



IMPACTS ON MANGROVES: HUMAN
Exploratory Well Oil Spill
courtesy NOAA

Exploratory Well Oil Spill


Human Impacts on Mangroves Include:

Mangroves are victims of dredging, filling, and diking, water pollution from oil spills and herbicides, and urban development within the state of Florida.

Dredging
courtesy Army Corp of Engineers

Dredging

Dredging

  • Dredging suffocates mangroves when the aerial roots become flooded, preventing oxygen from reaching the root system
Dredging and filling activities have caused flooding of mangrove habitat. Standing water covers the aerial roots, making it impossible for oxygen to reach these specialized roots as well as the underground root systems. Eventually this leads to the deaths of mangrove trees.

Oil Surrounding Mangroves
courtesy Office of Response and Restoration/NOAA

Oil surrounding Mangroves

Water Pollution

  • Herbicides, oil spills, and other types of pollutants may kill mangroves
Causing tremendous damage to mangroves, herbicides, oil spills, and other types of water pollution may result in the death of these plants. Mangroves are very susceptible to herbicides as demonstrated in South Vietnam by the U.S. military by the defoliation and destruction of over 250,000 acres (1,012 square kilometers) of mangroves.

Workers Cleaning Oil Off Mangroves
courtesy Office of Response and Restoration/NOAA

Workers Cleaning Oil Off Mangroves

Oil spills cause damage to mangroves by coating roots, limiting the transport of oxygen to underground roots. Mangrove communities including invertebrates, fishes, and plants are also highly susceptible to damage from petroleum products.

Urban Encroachment
courtesy South Florida Water Management District

Urban Enchroachment

Urban Development

  • Urban development of areas in and near mangroves results in the destruction of this habitat as well as other associated wetland habitats
Responsible for total loss of mangrove habitat in some locations, urban development includes the construction of buildings and canal systems as well as the consumption of water by a growing human population. Human activity upland from mangroves may also impact water quality and runoff. These land and coastal activities result in increased erosion as well as the reduction of nursery areas supporting commercial and game fisheries.