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Last updated: May 26, 2016


South Florida Restoration Science Forum

Coastal Systems

"Modeling Hurricane Effects on Mangrove Ecosystems"

USGS Factsheet 95-97

photo of mangrove forest struck by Hurricane Andrew
Mangrove forest struck by Hurricane Andrew, 1992.
Mangrove ecosystems are at their most northern limit along the coastline of Florida and in isolated areas of the gulf coast in Louisiana and Texas. Mangroves are marine-based forests that have adapted to colonize and persist in salty intertidal waters. Three species of mangrove trees are common to the United States, black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). Mangroves are highly productive ecosystems and provide valuable habitat for fisheries and shorebirds. They are susceptible to lightning and hurricane disturbance, both of which occur frequently in south Florida. Climate change studies predict that, while these storms may not become more frequent, they may become more intense with warming sea temperatures. Sea-level rise alone has the potential for increasing the severity of storm surge, particularly in areas where coastal habitats and barrier shorelines are rapidly deteriorating. Given this possibility, U.S. Geological Survey researchers modeled the impact of hurricanes on south Florida mangrove communities. More...



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