Formation of mangrove forests in bays with calm waters along the coasts, the mangrove is an ecosystem apart in Martinique. The main feature of the vegetation consisting only of trees acclimatized to a salty environment is to avoid coastal erosion and thus protect corals and seagrass beds from sediment deposits.

The mangrove swamp of Martinique covers an area of ​​approximately 1,800 hectares and represents approximately 6% of the island's forest area. It is mainly located in the center (in Lamentin, in Ducos, in Robert, in François, in the Baie des Anglais, on the Presqu'île de la Caravelle (peninsula)) and in the south of the island (Cul-de-sac le Marin, the diamond). The largest area is located in the Baie de Génipa, at the end of the bay of Fort-de-France (nearly 1200 ha).

This particular forest is mainly located at the bottom of bays sheltered from the winds and in estuaries behind coral reefs. Despite its limited area, mangroves play an essential role in preserving environments. Located on the edge of the coast, this very special coastal forest is home to many animal species. Its role is to retain the sediments so that the seagrass beds located at sea and the coral reefs located further offshore develop in good harmony.

The trees constituting this “buffer” forest are very particular. They have roots-stilts which allow them to keep their footing despite the unstable ground composed mainly of highly sulfur-laden vases. The environment is hostile to plants and trees since it is salty and poor in oxygen.

The mangrove forest lives partly inundated. The species able to live there are very few, five at most. The species growing closest to the sea in clay soil are the Red mangroves, the mangroves or Black Mangles, the mangroves or White Mangles. Further back from the coast, the mangrove soil becomes clayey-sandy. There are mainly Gray Mangles, Gray Mangroves and further inland, Large Golden Ferns. On the site of the Trinité flooded with fresh water, there are also Medals Mangles.

If the mangrove of Martinique is today partially protected, over the last few years humans have severely chipped the area still planted with coastal forest. The biggest damage were done during the construction of the port of Fort de France, the airport of Lamentin as well as many houses and tourist complexes "feet in the water".

Some providers offer trips to different mangroves on the island. Do not hesitate to go there to visit this type of landscape that you will probably not see again, but therefore avoid throwing rubbish there to don't endanger the species that reside in the water otherwise you may receive a fine.

Galerie photos