Red Mangrove Expansion

The Red Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, reaches the ends of its ranged near Cape Coral, Florida, as did the black mangrove. However, climate change has allowed for mangrove range expansion, likely due to a decrease in the frequency of extreme cold events per year (Cavanaugh 2013 PNAS).

Having seen Costa Rican red mangrove, and those at 4-mile Cove pictured here, the lack of cold tolerance in the trees is clear: the Costa Rican mangroves stand much taller and have a lower stem density (# of trees per area) than those in Florida, because of periodic (on the order of decades) frosts or cold events that wipe most of the trees out in Florida.

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