Greater Antilles Mangrove Ecoregion (Caribbean)
The Greater Antilles mangrove ecoregion comprises the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. These mangroves support relatively high levels of endemic flora and fauna and are often part of complex assemblages of habitats.
Greater Antilles Mangroves
The Greater Antilles mangrove ecoregion comprises various coastal areas in Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica.
The Greater Antilles mangroves vary in development, from scrub vegetation found as coastal fringe to well-developed stands with heights of up to 25 m (82 ft) found at river mouths.
Mangroves are an essential feature of Caribbean shores. They form a barrier that helps protect the coastal area from tropical storms and hurricanes that have become more intense in recent years.
They are also crucial as barriers against the salinization of coastal soils and groundwater and support fisheries on which most of the population depends.
Because of their location on large islands, the Greater Antilles mangroves support high endemic flora and fauna levels. In addition, they are often part of complex habitat assemblages as diverse as the conditions found in various parts of these islands.
Some protected areas that are important centers of floral and faunal endemism are the Desembarco del Granma National Park, a World Heritage Site, where mangroves are part of an assemblage of habitats, including coral reefs and sea grass beds.
Endemic flora is also found in Jamaica's Black River Lower Morass, which contains mangroves and is an essential habitat for wetlands and migratory birds.
Coastal mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds are often interdependent and form a highly diverse and structurally complex ecosystem in which the reefs act as a barrier that shelters seagrass beds and mangroves from high wave energy and strong coastal currents typical of the Caribbean environment. These, in turn, provide foraging and nursery habitats for many reef species.
Flora and Fauna
Mangrove species found in the Greater Antilles mangrove ecoregion are the Red mangrove, the Black mangrove, the White mangrove, and the Buttonwood mangrove.
A myriad of nonendemic birds frequents the mangroves. Among the endemic birds associated with mangroves are the Cuban Green Woodpecker, the Jamaican tody, and endemic subspecies of the mangrove warbler, and the clapper rail.
Mammals that frequent these mangroves include several species of Hutia and West Indian manatee. Endemic mammals and reptiles include several species of Hutia found in Cuba and the Anolis lizard.
Map depicting the location of the Greater Antilles mangroves (red areas in blue-hashed box)