Belize Coast Mangroves
The mangrove swamps here are a nursery ground for many fish species associated with the huge Belize Barrier Reef. By filtering runoff from rivers and trapping sediment, the mangroves also protect the clarity of the coastal waters, helping the coral reef to survive. Numerous cays—small islands composed largely of coral or sand—along the coast are covered with mangroves and form a habitat for birds. In all, more than 250 bird species share the swamps with West Indian manatees and a variety of reptiles, including boa constrictors, American crocodiles, and iguanas.