Mangrove and Estuarine Systems
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This ecosystem occurs in tidally influenced areas where strong ocean wave action is absent and where salt and fresh water mix. Soils are sandy, nutrient rich, saline, and usually oxygen deficient. Although plant species diversity is mainly limited to mangrove and sea-grasses, this ecosystem provides one of the most productive nursery habitats for fish, shellfish, birds, and other estuarine wildlife. Three (3) species of mangroves are found in Florida: the Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, and White Mangrove. Typically, Red Mangroves grow along the water's edge, Black Mangroves grow on slightly higher elevations than the Red Mangrove, and White Mangroves grow upland from the red and black. The buttonwood is often associated with the mangrove community. Mangroves also provide shoreline protection from wind, waves, and erosion.