Neotropical coastal wetlands

Edited by: Darold P. Batzer and Andrew H. Baldwin


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The Neotropical region, which includes the tropical Americas, is one of the world's eight biogeographic zones. It contains some of the most diverse and unique wetlands in the world, some of which are still relatively undisturbed by humans. This chapter focuses on the northern segment of the Neotropics (south Florida, the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Central America), an area that spans a latitudinal gradient from about 7 N to 29 N and 60 W to 112 W. Examples of coastal wetlands in this realm include the Everglades (Florida, USA), Ten Thousand Islands (Florida, USA), Laguna de Terminos (Mexico), Twin Cays (Belize), and Zapata Swamp (Cuba). Coastal wetlands are dominated by mangroves, which will be emphasized here, but also include freshwater swamps and marshes, saline marshes, and seagrass beds. The aim of this chapter is to provide a broad overview of Neotropical coastal wetlands of the North American continent, with an emphasis on mangroves, since this is the dominant vegetation type and because in-depth coverage of all wetland types is impossible here. Instead, the goal is to describe the environmental settings, plant and animal communities, key ecological controls, and some conservation concerns, with specific examples. Because this book deals with wetlands of North America, this chapter excludes coastal wetlands of South America. However, much of the information is applicable to mangrove, marsh, and seagrass communities of other tropicaI regions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Neotropical coastal wetlands
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher University of California Press
Publisher location Berkeley, CA
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Wetland habitats of North America: ecology and conservation concerns
First page 89
Last page 101
Other Geospatial Neotropical region
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N