What are Mangroves?
Mangroves are trees that are adapted to live in areas that are often flooded by water, places called wetlands. In these areas there are three types of mangroves: red, black and white that live in saltwater wetlands. Each has a different tolerance for the amount of salt and water they can live in.
The beginning of life for all of the reef creatures starts in the estuaries and mangroves. During storms and periods of high winds and waves, mangroves, with their entanglement of roots, provide shoreline stabilization and a haven for animal life, which use the mangroves to nest and feed. Many of the outer islands in Belize have had their mangroves removed for development and as a result have lost their shorelines. Long Caye understands the importance and function of the mangroves and will continue to preserve them.
Love your Reef – Love your Mangrove
Mangroves are able to filter pollutants and chemicals while trapping debris, silt and sediments. This protects water clarity and quality and prevents delicate coral and seagrass communities from being suffocated. Mangroves also recharge underground water supplies by collecting rainwater and slowly releasing it.
Captures Carbon Mangroves are expert carbon scrubbers. Mangroves are able to pack away carbon faster than many terrestrial forests. Each year it is estimated that mangrove forests hoard 42 million tons of carbon, this is equivalent to the emissions created by 25 million cars.
Mangroves are often called land formers. They not only help in preventing soil erosion but act as a catalyst in reclaiming land from seas. As the mangroves continue to grow out expanding the shoreline, other terrestrial plants are able to colonize the land behind.
Mangroves shed about 7 ½ tons of litter per acre per year. The detritus is quickly broken down by bacteria and fungi and released into the water. This provides a rich source of food and nutrients for other nearby marine ecosystems and sea life.
Mangrove forests offer vital protection and habitat for an abundant array of marine and terrestrial species. They are an important nursery and feeding ground for most coral reef fish and invertebrates species. Many birds, amphibians and reptiles also use mangroves for protection while nesting and feeding.
In the Mesoamerican barrier reef there are as many as 25 more fish living in and near to mangroves than there are when mangrove communities have been removed via deforestation. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reef populations and subsequently commercial fishing.
The fringing network on Mangroves buffers between land and sea. They protect from natural forces such as hurricanes, winds, waves, tidal change and run-off be preventing soil loss with a firm, flexible barrier. Areas where mangrove populations have been removed suffer much severer damage.
Mangroves can be responsibly harvested. Many rural communities use their durable water-resistant wood to build houses, boats, pilings and furniture. Tannins and other dyes are extracted from the bark for textiles. Leaves are used for tea, medicine, livestock feed and a tobacco substitute for smoking.
Living on Long Caye is existing on a private island where you are an integral part of the eco-system. You are part of how the island and the community stays healthy. The Community on Long Caye (the development itself) is designed to promote and sustain the health of the surrounding tropical reef and jungle environment. Residents and businesses, understand that by honoring the Eco-guidelines we can “have our cake and eat it, too” by respecting the natural assets. Your parcel and home is a part of the overall design of all-encompassing, unsurpassed access to an extraordinary ecological system while ACTIVELY preserving the the Caye and its surrounds. We have designed the community with a long term vision.
All of Long Caye is essentially a preserve. Stewardship of the surrounding environment is a core value for us. We take a long term, holistic approach to building community on Long Caye, through the mindful, yet aggressive, adoption of leading edge environmentally friendly technologies. We seek to demonstrate to the world the achievements possible when people, passion and technology team up with nature to create an extraordinary living and visiting experience. Our Conservation Ethos is enacted in perpetuity by the Eco-Guidelines – and they ensure that Long Caye will be here for future generations. As stewards of the atoll, we will not sacrifice our ecological standards or compromise our principals.
We hope to bridge the gap between the enjoyment of access and conscientious preservation of the natural environment – to prove that environmental assets can be preserved, protected AND enjoyed in a fashion that actually promotes the long term health of such assets for the greater good. Community and Conservation priorities are fulfilled with a deep and abiding respect for the Local Culture that has preceded us for centuries in the Lighthouse Reef atoll. We are friends, supporters and business partners to the fishers that have responsibly used the Lighthouse Reef for their livelihood for generations. We understand and promote sustainable business in the Atoll and on the Caye.