Replanting projects struggle to stem mangrove destruction
Mangroves are among
the most abundant
trees on the planet,
and tropical intertidal
shorelines around the world. But as
development sprawls in Florida’s coastal
areas, mangroves are disappearing at an
alarming rate. The loss of mangroves in
the Indian River Lagoon has scientists
and environmentalists worried.
Florida waters once had millions of acres
of mangroves. But with all the coastal
development in the past 50-60 years,
the estimate is less than 470,000 acres,
according to the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection. Along the
banks of the Indian River Lagoon, it is
estimated 65%-80% of the mangroves are
gone, lost to development pressure.
Around the world there are mangrove
replanting efforts designed to counter
the rising seas of climate change.
Millions of acres of mangroves have
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been replanted in Indonesia, Malaysia
and throughout Southeast Asia.
Replanting in Florida is less ambitious.
The University of Central Florida has
planted more than 2 miles of mangrove
shoreline in the Mosquito Lagoon, near
the Kennedy Space Center. The Marine
Resource Council has more than 5,500
plantings in the lagoon.
According to Melinda Donnelly, assistant
resource professor, the UCF project has
been ongoing since 2011. It is one of
By Fred Mays