【Designated by the City：Natural Monument (Flora)】Mangrove Forest of Shimajiri
Mangrove forests are communities of evergreen shrubs and trees that grow in the mud in the brackish waters (where sea and fresh waters mix) by the seashore and mouths of rivers in tropical and subtropical regions. Within Japan, a few families of mangroves are distributed in the Nansei islands, and the northernmost point within the country can be found in Kiire, Kagoshima Prefecture.
There are four families and six species distributed in Okinawa Prefecture, with confirmation of six species in Yaeyama, five species in Miyako, and four species on Okinawa Island.
The mangrove forest in Shimajiri has developed approximately 1km in the inlet (Batarazu) west of the Shimajiri settlement, making the largest community within the Miyako Islands. Within the community, three families and five species have been confirmed, which are the Yaeyama Hirugi, black mangrove, Mehirugi, Hirugimodoki (*the Hirugimodoki has not been presently confirmed), as well as the Hirugidamashi, which Miyako is the northernmost point where this species is found. Here, where the community is developed in an area where water from springs flow in, all the mangrove species found on Miyako can be observed, and is an important asset from a phytogeographical point of view.
Mangroves are also referred to as “forests of the sea,” and they are very unique in its ecosystem. It is a suitable place to teach children and students about the food chain within such an ecosystem, and from the point of environmental conservation, it is necessary to appropriately protect the forest.
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