There are mangroves on the western coasts of all of the islands. The densest mangrove areas are on Bastimentos, San Cristobal, Popa, Solarte and Carenero, and along the Admiral Bay shore. The dominant mangrove species in the islands is the red mangrove (rizophora mangle).
Mangroves form a natural and vital part of the coastal defenses against waves and wind erosion. They fix sediments, create new land and protecting the ecosystems.
Mangrove forests are fundamental as a protection site in the growing of numerous commercial species like snappers, conchs, shrimps and crabs, and other species of ecological importance like the starfishes, needlefishes, barracudas.
Mangrove forests throughout the world are being threatened by de-forestation for construction poles and charcoal, and by tourism projects and towns expansion. Their fish are also overfished by fixed nets in the channels which scoop up any passing fish, many of them immature. .
Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park has many mangrove islets, surrounded by sea, where the water is so transparent that snorkelers can see what is happening around their root systems, which are like an underwater forest formed by the mangrove roots.
Thousands of tiny fishes swim among the roots, and their predators follow them - needlefishes and barracudas. And above the water, the mangrove trees provide shelter for many birds and animals.
Bocas del Toro Information