A mysterious world, unfamiliar, undervalued, is not within one of the most interesting forest areas of the department that plays an ecological role.
The beaches with fine golden sand, turquoise sea, exuberant forest and its rich history, offer to Martinique undeniable charm, which you will surely succumbed during your stay on board your rental vehicle. But this dream island still has more to offer us: its shores are home to one of the largest mangrove forests in the Caribbean. A mysterious world, unfamiliar, undervalued, is not within one of the most interesting forest areas of the department that plays an ecological role.
What is a mangrove?
It is a coastal littoral forest, amphibian, in a flooded part that is only found in the tropics. It forms the border between land and water and develops in the calm, shallow water areas, that is why that it is mostly found at the bottom of the protected coves. So the conditions for this type of vegetation depend on different parameters: tides, water temperature (always above 20 °), the supply of fresh water and brackish water. Specific field conditions (muddy soil, poor dioxide and salty), promote the implementation of a fauna and restricted and unusual flora (species able to live there are very few, at most 4)
From sea to land, the landscape is organized as follows.
The species growing closer to the sea (seaside mangrove), on clay soil, mainly composed of silt and highly charged with sulfur, in a completely submerged area by continuously sea is invaded by the paletuvier RED, which is close to the sea thanks to her role colonizer, easily recognizable thanks to its aerial roots hoops which allows him to keep feet despite the unstable ground, whose mode of reproduction is spectacular; it is the only plant species vivipare.
Further back, the mangrove shrub, which is located in the transition zone of the tides, where the paletuvier BLACK develops, with its remarkable pneumatophores (growths of roots emerging perpendicularly from the mud).
The dry wood pond, consists of a sandy area -argileuse naked, almost devoid of vegetation, because of the small and regular marine immersions that promote the concentration of salt.
Finally the transition zone with the mainland, where the ground is periodically submerged are characterized paletuvier GREY AND WHITE
The mangrove ecosystem is a very special Martinique, vegetation consists of trees acclimatized in a saltwater environment, its main characteristic to prevent coastal erosion, thus protecting coral reefs and seagrass beds as marine, deposits sediment. But it also is a favorite place for reproduction true nursery, protection and nutrition for marine wildlife and birds. It thus home to many species such as shellfish, fish, birds, but the most visible are the crabs and birds (herons and egrets) who fish but also passerines. Very crowded by migratory species as they make a stop on their journey to rebuild their reserves (sandpipers).
Mangrove Martinique extends over an area of 2268 hectares and occupies 6% of woodlands and more than 1.5% of the island. By rental car, you certainly cross some cities that are bordered by this special forest. Thus the largest area is around the bay from Fort-De-France: Bay Génipa in half, south, affecting the town of Ducos, the Trois Ilets, and Rivière Salée, the largest (1000 hc ) and most powerful. Smaller areas are found on sheltered bays on the east coast (the Caravelle at Robert) and South of the island (English Bay in STE Anne) or cul de sac of Marin or Diamant.
If today the mangroves is well protected, the man in recent years, caused enormous damage and still reduces planted area of coastal forest especially when making the Port of Fort-De-France and airport Lamentin, and the many resorts ever growing.
Visit the mangroves?
After traveling through the island, thanks to your rental car, you may'll want to switch context, you experience a universe, particularly fascinating, both for its mystery by its scenery, by letting you train a must ride in Martinique, way eco tourism in the labyrinths of mangrove for example, the discovery of plant and animal species little known, in a quiet, relaxing and wild, where only animal noises heard !!!!
Village Pottery, Trois Ilets, you'll have no trouble finding you park your rental car, you were comfortably installed, to change the means of transport, as well equipped to embark on a "yole"can easily accommodate 10 people, "the Mantou" which will take you out of the harbor towards Génipa Bay, to the east, while listening to the guide's detailed information.
Once reached around the shores of the town of Ducos, you will enter the heart of the mangrove via the Canal Cocotte, orCanal de Rivière Salee.
Cocotte mangrove channel ... .. There is still much to learn about the history of these channels, which were used to transport sometimes sugar cane to the distillery Dillon. The boat, which at this stage has started its silent electric motor, just to enjoy the peace and enjoy the huge variety of animals around you. (crabs, shellfish, birds, fish, insects). You will also know the different trees that inhabit this wild place, mangroves with their characteristics, mode of reproduction sometimes quite unusual, colonization mode on the sea, which make real kings of the mangrove. Departures are organized usually every day for term variable durations.
Another approach to the Mangrove, would be to make a turn in a kayak, "Mangrove Kayaking Evasion" offers this kind of getaway solo or with a guide.
With or without GPS in your rental car, it will be quite easy to head into the town of Ducos, particularly Canal Cocotte "place of departure to go on an adventure in gliding board your small boat on an emerald green water. After a few strokes of oars on an enchanting journey that will leave you speechless, amid this wild nature that offers his show, where there are major players in these famous trees and all the animals that accompany you will be overwhelmed by the scenery.
It is possible to approach the mangrove by sea, canoe or kayak, but also to the feet, where educational trails have been developed (for example the Salines or the Caravelle peninsula). And for the more energetic, you can admire the mangroves in the Bay of Massy-Massy in Vauclin (linked with Article of the water sports of Vauclin) during your outing wake board since it is one of privileged spots for this activity in Martinique. So get out of the ordinary, mangrove dare!