Mangrove swamp

Salt-tolerant woody plant forests, characterized by their common ability to grow and thrive along tidal-protected shorelines, and are found among frequently anaerobic saline sediments.

These ecosystems are also often called hydrophilic forests because, due to their coastal location, they are always in direct contact with bodies of water of marine origin in combination with the water that arrives through runoff or the mouth of rivers. Its limits are given by temperatures. Two main distribution areas are distinguished: the western one, which includes western Africa and the coasts of America and the Caribbean, and the eastern zone, which includes eastern Africa, southern Asia and the Pacific, including Oceania to Australia and where the population is concentrated. greater diversity.

They are dominated by a group of typically arboreal species that have developed physiological, reproductive and structural adaptations that allow them to colonize unstable substrates and flooded areas, subject to changes in the tides of the tropical and subtropical coasts protected from the waves.

Mangroves around the world occupy approximately 16,530,000 hectares, of which 5,831,000 ha. They are in Latin America and the Caribbean, or 35.3% of the total area. The largest extensions are in Brazil and Mexico. According to the inventory of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico, 119 mangrove areas have been described with an average of 22,971 cuerdas. The Piñones mangrove in Loíza is the largest with 5,165.2. Cuerdas, Puerto Medio Mundo in Ceiba and La Parguera represent the second and third mangroves with extensions of 1,258.0 and 1,045.8 cords, respectively.

This ecosystem stands out for its high productivity and production of organic matter. They promote biodiversity as their submerged roots provide habitat and shelter for a rich fauna of fish, mammals and invertebrates. Mangroves have considerable ecological and economic value as they act as nurseries for many fish and shellfish. Many of these species hatch in nearby ecosystems such as seagrass beds or coral reefs, and their larvae and juveniles develop under their roots. That is why they are essential for man, since they ensure the sustainability of the fishing industry.