by Kristen Minogue
Deep in the Florida swamps, black, white and red mangrove trees have lived together for thousands of years. But warmer winters are pulling the ecological fellowship apart, creating a new landscape in the north.
The story begins decades ago. Once, when Florida winters were chillier, mangroves remained trapped in the subtropics. As the climate warmed, Smithsonian ecologists discovered that fewer cold snaps were empowering mangroves to push north. But the trees aren’t moving in sync. Black mangroves have outstripped their cousins, passing St. Augustine, while white mangroves are lagging almost 30 miles behind. Until now, there weren’t any hard data explaining why.