2009 Mexican Eco-Blogging Green Adventure Mexican Mangroves
Posted Apr 04 2009 11:50pm
This is the view from the side of the resort we are staying at in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Beautiful isn’t it? What you’re looking at is a Mangrove jungle which was originally targeted to be destroyed and was gratefully saved by the Mexican government.
You see, Mangroves are really “rainforests by the sea” that grow in tropical and subtropical tidelands all over the world. Mangrove forests are comprised of diverse, salt-tolerant tree and other plant species which thrive in salt water or a mix of fresh and salt water, specifically inter-tidal zones of estuaries, sheltered tropical shores, and small over-wash islands. While other plant life dies with the over-exposure to salt water, Mangrove trees have amazingly adapted unique aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves that enable them to occupy the saline wetlands. The result is the Mangrove forest.
Mangrove forests are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems, in fact, this is why the Mexican government put a halt to additional building on this property. The forest detritus, consisting mainly of fallen leaves and branches from the mangroves, provides marine environment nutrients and supports baby “fish hatcheries” as well as immense varieties of sea life in intricate food chains.
During my time visiting the over 1 million acres of internationally protected environment at Sian Ka’an Biosphere this week, I was able to swim among the mangroves (see below). Touching their roots, seeing an incredible array of plant life, and feeling an amazing and unique connection to this special jungle life.
The shallow inter-tidal reaches that distinguish the mangrove wetlands offer refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile fish, crabs, shrimps, and mollusks. They are also prime nesting and migratory sites for hundreds of bird species. Many other animals occupy or temporarily utilize mangroves, including sea turtles, manatees, crab-eating monkeys, fishing cats, monitor lizards, plus dozens of other varieties of fish use the mangroves as protected nurseries.
As you get closer you can see this amazing forest of gnarled, jagged trees protruding up from the sands. At times these roots are anchored in deep, black, mud, or are in the cenote canals in the wetlands of the Sian Ka’an. At other times the ocean cleanses the roots and brings in millions of fish and ocean life in abundance. Green fingers stretch to the hot sun and birds sing a cacophony of music every morning; fighting for their position in the world. This is where land and ocean intertwine and life is reborn along the Mexican coast of the Yucatan peninsula.
And imagine; this has been my view every day for a week – oh yeah, I am as close to heaven as any nature lover could possibly be.
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