Mangroves occur in the waterlogged, salty soils of sheltered tropical and subtropical shores. They are subject to the twice-daily ebb and flow of tides, fortnightly spring and neap tides, and seasonal weather fluctuations. They stretch from the intertidal zone up to the high-tide mark. These forests are comprised of 12 genera comprising about 60 species of salt-tolerant trees.

With their distinctive nest of stilt and prop-like roots, mangroves can thrive in areas of soft, waterlogged, and oxygen-poor soil by using aerial and even horizontal roots to gain a foothold. The roots also absorb oxygen from the air, while the tree's leaves can excrete excess salt.

Associated with the tree species are a whole host of aquatic and salt-tolerant plants. Together they provide important nursery habitats for a vast array of aquatic animal species. 
Mangrove ecosystems are most diverse in South Asian seas and least diverse in the Caribbean. Mangrove forests on the western coast of Madagascar support a number of endemic bird species that are endangered. In some tropical countries, such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, over 50% of mangrove ecosystems have been lost in this century.

Biodiversity Patterns
Most species typically have relatively widespread distributions; low diversity floras but overall alpha diversity very high when terrestrial and aquatic species are considered; very low beta diversity and low ecoregional endemism; some highly localized species exist; strong zonation along gradients; several distinct mangrove habitat formations.

Minimum Requirements
Mangroves require relatively intact hydrographic and salinity regimes, without these conditions remaining within natural ranges the persistence or restoration of mangroves is difficult or impossible.

Sensitivity to Disturbance
Alterations of hydrography and substrate have considerable impact, but restoration potential is high; mangroves are susceptible to pollution, particulary oil and other petroleum compounds; alteration of salinity levels can have dramatic impacts on mangroves.



Southeastern Asia: Western coast of New Guinea


Southern Africa: Along the coasts of South Africa and Mozambique
Madagascar Mangroves
Africa: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast
East African mangroves
Western Africa


Southern Asia: Bangladesh and India
Southern Asia: Along the coasts of India, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand
Southern Asia: Coastal India and Pakistan
Indochina mangroves
Southern Asia: Eastern coast of India


Western North America: Western Mexico including Isla Cedros and Isla Guadalupe in the Pacific Ocean


Southern North America: Southeastern Mexico
Island of Trinidad in the Caribbean
Southern North America: On the Pacific coast of southern Mexico
Central America: Northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua
Eastern South America: Northern Brazil
Eastern South America: Northeastern Brazil
Central America: Atlantic coast of northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua
Southern North America: Eastern Mexico
Western South America: Northwestern coast of Peru
Southern North America: Yucatàn Peninsula in southern Mexico
Northeastern Brazil
Central America: Northern Honduras into Guatemala
Central America: El Salvador into Guatemala
Central America: Eastern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua
Central America: Along the Pacific Coast of Panama and southern Costa Rica
Southern North America: Southern Mexico
Southern North America: Eastern Mexico
Southern North America: Western coast of Mexico
Northeastern Brazil
Northern South America: Coastal Ecuador
Northern South America: Colombia, Venezuela
Caribbean: Lesser Antilles Islands
Southern South America: Southern Brazil
Central America: Pacific coast of Panama
Western South America: Ecuador and Peru
Gulf of Fonseca mangroves
Eastern South America: Coastal French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and southeastern Venezuela
Caribbean: islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico
Northern South America: Northern Colombia
Northern South America: Northwestern Venezuela
Central America: Northern Panama
Belizean Reef mangroves
Central America: Islands and cays off the coast of Belize
South America: Brazil, mainly in the state of Bahia
Caribbean Islands: Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands
Northern South America: Northern Brazil
Veracruz, Mexico, along the Gulf of Mexico coastal plains