Mangroves marching south

In recent decades New Zealand has experienced a huge expansion of mangroves around its shoreline and estuaries.

The Bay of Plenty is the southernmost place in the world where mangroves are found – as tropical and sub-tropical species, mangroves can’t survive further south because it is too cold.

While three decades ago there were few mangroves in Bay of Plenty, now they have spread almost everywhere around the coast. Previously winter frosts limited the spread of these warm climate plants, but as our winters have warmed there are far fewer frosts so mangroves have been surviving over winter and becoming more widely established.
If climate change continues, we may see mangroves spread even further south, changing the natural balance of our coastal ecosystems.