Red Mangrove Restoration

Thought some of you might like to see the incredibly technologically advanced methods we have in Florida for restoring red mangrove habitats. (Tongue. In. Cheek.)

Behold, the great PVC!

In all seriousness, its a good reality check for the plant enthusiasts in the marine aquarium hobby. Even the scientists havent entirely figured out how to make little red mangrove propagules happy in all conditions.  And, some of the best attempts in restoration have nothing to do with tissue culture or other expensive projects like we are prone to think.  They are feet-in-the-mud hard work. 

While the PVC is meant to keep the new propagules stationary until their roots grow into place it can strangle the plant if left in place too long. There are actually some examples of older restored red mangrove in FL that are being choked by PVC collars. The other downside of using PVC is that some of the local anglers use the poles as rather convenient spots to place their fishing poles. We need something that will hold the plants in place and not pose a threat to the ecosystem/plants should we take too long to retrieve it. Maybe even something biodegradeable.

Some things I think that are good to remember for aquarium husbandry:

  • Mangroves like smelly, gross, high organic substrate.
  • You never find happy, living, red mangrove propagules entirely submerged under water.
  • Black mangroves and red mangroves both wash up onshore almost throughout the year but you see the most germinating propagules (seeds) in mid to late fall and into the winter season. So perhaps the propagules we see in the hobby shops in early and late spring are leftovers from the previous year’s seed bank. They might not be as viable.
  • Wild mangrove propagules like sun and lots of it. We might be able to get them to survive off of 40w CFs in our homes but they might grow faster if we had more available light. Then again, its always a trade off with the pesky heat problem.

Germinating black mangroves at the high tide mark

Speaking of which, I’ve been finding black mangroves in fairly high salinity zones lately. Its got me wondering if they could be put into an aquarium plan after all. Hmmm.

Overall though, we need more sneaky elegant ideas for the restoration of many marine habitats.  Mangroves, seagrass, oysters, coral reefs, saltmarsh, dunes, etc etc etc.  If we can re-establish the places that animals live and bring them back to a healthy size and state, the animals can return. 


One Comment to “Red Mangrove Restoration”

  1. Could you possibly explain why my mangroves nearly always die after about two years? I have tried everything: salt, brakish, fresh w.; running w.; dry and submerged etc.
    Thank you for your help.