Cultural and natural values of Los Roques Continued...
The complexity and fragility of the reefs is compared to that of the tropical rain forests and although these ecosystems are in a receding in all the coasts of the Caribbean, the reefs of the archipelago are a good example of communities in a very good state of preservation.
Mangrove swamps are adapted forests to saline soil. They are formed by a group of adapted species to different soil conditions, from areas always flooded to others influenced by the tides and the contribution of land fresh water. Among the most attractive adaptations are the reproduction from germinated seeds and the presence of air roots.
The swamps act as protection of the coast against erosion and they are refuge areas as well as feeding for the larva and juvenile phases of numerous species. Traditionally man exploited these communities for the obtaining of wood, vegetable coal, bark tannins for dyeing of leather and more recently for the construction of shrimp farms. In Los Roques archipelago it can be observed very well preserved examples of these types of communities.
Besides the swamps, the vegetation of the archipelago is formed by other types of communities:
Xerofitica, adapted to the scarce rain fall in the area (200mm average rain fall), The Cactus Melon as a representative species and the Halofila community adapted to the sandy soils, with its golden green carpet as the most representative element.
These vegetable communities, with their different green and brown rhymes; white sandy beaches the result of coral erosion and calcareous algae; the turquoise greens of shallow waters with this intense white sandy bottom make up this wonderful landscape of the archipelago of Los Roques.