Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 629–638 | Cite as

Sea-level rise and landscape change influence mangrove encroachment onto marsh in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Florida, USA

  • Ken W. Krauss
  • Andrew S. From
  • Thomas W. Doyle
  • Terry J. Doyle
  • Michael J. Barry


The Ten Thousand Islands region of southwestern Florida, USA is a major feeding and resting destination for breeding, migrating, and wintering birds. Many species of waterbirds rely specifically on marshes as foraging habitat, making mangrove encroachment a concern for wildlife managers. With the alteration of freshwater flow and sea-level rise trends for the region, mangroves have migrated upstream into traditionally salt and brackish marshes, mirroring similar descriptions around the world. Aside from localized freezes in some years, very little seems to be preventing mangrove encroachment. We mapped changes in mangrove stand boundaries from the Gulf of Mexico inland to the northern boundary of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) from 1927 to 2005, and determined the area of mangroves to be approximately 7,281 hectares in 2005, representing an 1,878 hectare increase since 1927. Overall change represents an approximately 35% increase in mangrove coverage on TTINWR over 78 years. Sea-level rise is likely the primary driver of this change; however, the construction of new waterways facilitates the dispersal of mangrove propagules into new areas by extending tidal influence, exacerbating encroachment. Reduced volume of freshwater delivery to TTINWR via overland flow and localized rainfall may influence the balance between marsh and mangrove as well, potentially offering some options to managers interested in conserving marsh over mangrove.


Coastal habitat Hydrological change Salinity Wetlands 


  1. Allen JA, Krauss KW (2006) Influence of propagule flotation longevity and light availability on establishment of introduced mangrove species in Hawaii. Pac Sci 60:367–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry MJ (2009) Data summary of working vegetation maps of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Report prepared for Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Miami, Florida: The Institute for Regional ConservationGoogle Scholar
  3. Bischof BC (1995) Aerial photographic analysis of coastal and estuarine mangrove system dynamics of the Everglades National Park, Florida, in response to hurricanes: implications for the continuing sea-level rise. M.S. thesis, University of MiamiGoogle Scholar
  4. Carter MR, Burns LA, Cavinder TR, Dugger KR, Fore PL, Hicks DB, Revells HL, Schmidt TW (1973) Ecosystem analysis of the Big Cypress swamp and estuaries. South Florida Environmental Project, Ecological Report No. DI-SFEP-74-51. United States Environmental Protection AgencyGoogle Scholar
  5. Chimner RA, Fry B, Kaneshiro MY, Cormier N (2006) Current extent and historical expansion of introduced mangroves on Oahu, Hawaii. Pac Sci 60:377–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis JH (1940) The ecology and geologic role of mangroves in Florida. Papers from Tortugas Laboratory 32:304–412. Publication No. 517, Carnegie Institute of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis JH (1943) The natural features of southern Florida, especially the vegetation, and the Everglades. Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 25Google Scholar
  8. Doyle TW, Girod GF, Books MA (2003) Modeling mangrove forest migration along the southwest coast of Florida under climate change. In: Ning ZH, Turner RE, Doyle TW, Abdollahi K (eds) Integrated assessment of the climate change impacts on the Gulf Coast region. GCRCC, Baton Rouge, pp 211–221Google Scholar
  9. Duever MJ, Meeder JF, Meeder LC, McCollom JM (1994) The climate of south Florida and its role in shaping the Everglades ecosystem. In: Davis SM, Ogden JC (eds) Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, pp 225–248Google Scholar
  10. Egler FE (1952) Southeast saline Everglades vegetation, Florida, and its management. Vegetation 3:213–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grunwald M (2006) The swamp. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Kangas PC, Lugo AE (1990) The distribution of mangrove and saltmarsh in Florida. Trop Ecol 31:32–39Google Scholar
  13. Kushlan JA (1990) Freshwater marshes. In: Myers RL, Ewel JJ (eds) Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando, pp 324–363Google Scholar
  14. Light SS, Dineen JW (1994) Water controls in the Everglades: a historical perspective. In: Davis SM, Ogden JC (eds) Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, pp 47–84Google Scholar
  15. López-Medellín X, Ezcurra E, González-Abraham C, Hak J, Santiago LS, Sickman JO (2011) Oceanographic anomalies and sea-level rise drive mangroves inland in the Pacific coast of Mexico. J Veg Sci 22:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lovelock CE, Feller IC, Ellis J, Schwarz AM, Hancock N, Nichols P, Sorrell B (2007) Mangrove growth in New Zealand estuaries: the role of nutrient enrichment at sites with contrasting rates of sedimentation. Oecologia 153:633–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McCally D (1999) The Everglades: an environmental history. University of Florida Press, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  18. McKee KL, Mendelssohn IA, Materne MD (2004) Acute salt marsh dieback in the Mississippi River deltaic plain: a drought-induced phenomenon? Glob Ecol Biogeogr 13:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McKee KL, Cahoon DR, Feller IC (2007a) Caribbean mangroves adjust to rising sea level through biotic controls on change in soil elevation. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 16:545–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McKee KL, Rooth JE, Feller IC (2007b) Mangrove recruitment after forest disturbance is facilitated by herbaceous species in the Caribbean. Ecol Appl 17:1678–1693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McTainsh G, Iles B, Saffigna P (1988) Spatial and temporal patterns of mangroves at Oyster Bay, south east Queensland, 1944–83. Proc Roy Soc Queensl 99:83–91Google Scholar
  22. Michener WK, Blood ER, Bildstein KL, Brinson MM, Gardner LR (1997) Climate change, hurricanes and tropical storms, and rising sea level in coastal wetlands. Ecol Appl 7:770–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morton RM (1994) Fluctuations in wetland extent in southern Moreton Bay. In: Greenwood JG, Hall NJ (eds) Future marine science in Moreton Bay. The University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp 145–147Google Scholar
  24. NOAA (2011) Sea levels online. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Accessed 1 September 2010
  25. NRCS (2001) Vegetative communities of Southern Golden Gates Estates. Unpublished map, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.Google Scholar
  26. Parkinson RW (1989) Decelerating Holocene sea-level rise and its influence on southeast Florida coastal evolution: a transgressive/regressive stratigraphy. J Sediment Petrol 59:960–972Google Scholar
  27. Perry CL, Mendelssohn IA (2009) Ecosystem effects of expanding populations of Avicennia germinans in a Louisiana salt marsh. Wetlands 29:396–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pielke RA Sr, Walko RL, Steyaert LT, Vidale PL, Liston GE, Lyons WA, Chase TN (1999) The influence of anthropogenic landscape changes on weather in south Florida. Mon Weather Rev 127:1663–1673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ramcharan EK (2004) Mid-to-late Holocene sea level influence on coastal wetland development in Trinidad. Quaternary Int 120:145–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rogers K, Wilton KM, Saintilan N (2006) Vegetation change and surface elevation dynamics in estuarine wetlands of southeast Australia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 66:559–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ross MS, Meeder JF, Sah JP, Ruiz PL, Telesnicki GJ (2000) The southeast saline Everglades revisted: 50 years of coastal vegetation change. J Veg Sci 11:101–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Saintilan N, Williams RJ (1999) Mangrove transgression into saltmarsh environments in South-east Australia. Global Ecol Biogeogr 8:117–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saintilan N, Wilton K (2001) Changes in the distribution of mangroves and saltmarshes in Jervis Bay, Australia. Wetlands Ecol Manage 9:409–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Saintilan N, Rogers K, McKee KL (2009) Salt marsh-mangrove interactions in Australasia and the Americas. In: Perillo GME, Wolanski E, Cahoon DR, Brinson MM (eds) Coastal wetlands: an integrated ecosystem approach. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 855–883Google Scholar
  35. Sengupta R, Middleton BA, Yan C, Zuro M, Hartman H (2005) Landscape characteristics of Rhizophora mangle forests and propagule deposition in coastal environments of Florida (USA). Landscape Ecol 20:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sherrod CL, McMillan C (1985) The distributional history and ecology of mangrove vegetation along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastal region. Contrib Mar Sci 28:129–140Google Scholar
  37. Sklar F, McVoy C, Vanzee R, Gawlik DE, Tarboton K, Rudnik D, Miao S (2001) The effects of altered hydrology on the ecology of the Everglades. In: Porter JW, Porter KG (eds) The Everglades, Florida Bay, and Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys: an ecosystem handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 39–82Google Scholar
  38. Smith TJ III, Foster AM (2010) South Florida Integrated Access, Creation of a digital archive of historical aerial photographs for Everglades National Park and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. U.S. Geological Survey. Accessed 2 September 2010
  39. Smith TJ III, Foster AM, Briere PR, Jones JW, van Arsdall CR (2002) Conversion of historical topographic sheets (T-sheets) to digital form: Florida Everglades and vicinity. Open-File Report 02–204. U.S. Geological Survey, RestonGoogle Scholar
  40. Snedaker SC (1995) Mangroves and climate change in the Florida and Caribbean region: scenarios and hypotheses. Hydrobiologia 295:43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stevens PW, Fox SL, Montague CL (2006) The interplay between mangroves and saltmarshes at the transition between temperate and subtropical climate in Florida. Wetlands Ecol Manage 14:435–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Swayze LJ, McPherson BF (1977) The effect of the Faka Union Canal system on water levels in the Fakahatchee Strand, Collier County, Florida. USGS/WRI-77-61. U.S. Geological Survey, TallahasseeGoogle Scholar
  43. Tabb DC, Heald EJ, Alexander TR, Roessler MA, Beardsley GL (1976) An ecological and hydrological assessment of the Golden Gate Estates drainage basin, with recommendations for future land use and water management strategies. Tropical Bioindustries Development Company, MiamiGoogle Scholar
  44. Thomas TM (1970) A report to the U.S. National Park Service on a detailed analysis of climatological and hydrological records of south Florida: with reference to man’s influence upon ecosystem evaluation. Technical Report 70–2, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, MiamiGoogle Scholar
  45. Thomas TM (1974) A detailed analysis of climatological and hydrological records of south Florida with reference to man’s influence upon ecosystem evolution. In: Gleason PJ (ed) Environments of south Florida: past and present. Miami Geological Survey, Miami, pp 82–122Google Scholar
  46. USGS (1999). Map Accuracy Standards. FS-171-99, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, Accessed 22 March 2011
  47. West RC (1977) Tidal salt-marsh and mangal formations of Middle and South America. In: Chapman VJ (ed) Ecosystems of the world: 1. wet coastal ecosystems. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 193–213Google Scholar
  48. Whelan KRT, Smith TJ III, Cahoon DR, Lynch JC, Anderson GH (2005) Groundwater control of mangrove surface elevation: shrink and swell varies with soil depth. Estuaries 28:833–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Woodroffe CD, Thom BG, Chappell J (1985) Development of widespread mangrove swamps in mid-Holocene times in northern Australia. Nature 317:711–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken W. Krauss
    • 1
  • Andrew S. From
    • 2
  • Thomas W. Doyle
    • 1
  • Terry J. Doyle
    • 3
    • 5
  • Michael J. Barry
    • 4
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyNational Wetlands Research CenterLafayetteUSA
  2. 2.IAP World Services, IncLafayetteUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceTen Thousand Islands National Wildlife RefugeNaplesUSA
  4. 4.The Institute for Regional ConservationMiamiUSA
  5. 5.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceDivision of Migratory Bird ManagementArlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations