Satellite imagery confirmed long-term trends of mangrove expansion and aggressive habitat loss near the shore. This trend is related to salt water intrusion caused by sea-level rise and water management practices, according to the new study.
The team found large patches of vegetation loss closer to the coast, about 2.5 miles from the shoreline, in and around a vegetative band of low productivity that has been shifting inland over the past 70 years.
“Less salt-tolerant plants like the sawgrass, spike rush, and tropical hardwood hammocks are retreating. At the same time, salt-loving mangroves continue to extend inland,” according to Fuller, professor of Geography and Regional studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami.