Roads and Hurricanes Stress Mangroves

Southwest Florida’s mangroves protect shorelines from erosion, provide habitat for many species, and help maintain water quality. Mangroves also play an important role as climate change occurs. “Mangroves protect us against storm surge,” says FGCU ecologist Win Everham.

Everham and former graduate student Gianna Diaz studied how hurricanes and roads compound to affect mangroves. As sea level rises, mangroves can migrate landward to keep from being inundated, but roads through mangrove forests might prove fatal for some forests. “Forests that are cut off by roads have nowhere to go,” Diaz said. “When the water gets too high, they’re going to die off.”

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