Mangroves protect shorelines from storm and hurricane winds, waves and floods and also serve as valuable nurseries for fish and conch. The shallow waters surrounding the pheumatophores or aerial roots provide a sanctuary and food for juvenile fish, turtles, lobster and other marine species. They thrive in salty conditions and their coverage of coastal shorelines and wetlands provides many species of birds, crustacea and fish with a unique habitat.
Mangroves found in the Turks and Caicos include the Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, White Mangrove and Button Mangrove. The trees generally grove between 6 and 12 feet but in sheltered coastal areas the Red Mangrove can be found growing as high as 32 feet.
The bark of the mangrove tree has been used to make tea for stomach ailments such as ulcers and diarrhoea. The flowers and fruit feed birds and other wild life.