The mangroves on Bonaire are part of the Bonaire Marine Park. There are about 70 different mangrove trees worldwide. The area with mangroves and the coral of Lac Bay is an unique place on Bonaire and forms a big contrast with the rest of the island. Lac Bay contains two different species of mangroves:
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
These two species of mangroves grow both in salt- or brackish environments, but need fresh water to survive. The trees convert salt water into fresh water with the help of a semi-permeable membrane. This process is called reverse osmosis. The membrane needs 60 cm or 2 feet of water pressure to function as a filter. The mangroves on Bonaire are about 850 years old, but will probably disappear in another 800 years as Bonaire is rising out of the sea at a rate of 0,03 mm or 0,012 inch per year.
The mangrove forms an important function for the eco-system:
- Mangroves protects the coast with their strong roots.
- It is an important nursery ground for new life.
- Organic material feeds the reefs.
- The mangroves play an active role in stabilizing the sediments.
The bottom of the open area of the bay is primarily covered by different seagrasses, macro-algae and sand mounds. Seagrass communities are very important ecosystems. They provide food for many species like sea turtles, protection for many animals and nursery ground for many species.
The coral dam of Lac forms a natural border between the open ocean and Lac Bay.
Fruitbats are responsible for the pollination of the yellow flowers as there are almost no bees or butterflies. Mangroves have seeds with a size of 15-20 centimeter (or 6 to 7.5 inches) that can survive in the water for almost a year to grow up into a new tree.
Access to the mangroves is only possible with a guided tour to protect the area from any damage. The use sun cream and anti mosquito oil is highly recommended, but do not take these items into the mangroves as it may pollute the water or can be harmful to species.
For an impression about snorkeling and kayaking in the mangroves:
Links with more information: