The mangrove forest is a formation of several species of mangrove with an intricate intertwined root system and other trees adapted to the environment. The vegetation grows on a bed of mud. The landscape is distinctive for the tropical low coasts. This medium, unlike any other is biologically rich and extremely specialized.
The root system is an environment where several groups of animals are living. The mangrove lives to the rhythm of the tides, which twice a day, cover and uncover the mud; on this overlapping cycles, all the diurnal and nocturnal activities are carried out, depending on the species. Situated between land and sea, it plays a buffer role in protecting the coastline against marine erosion especially during the cyclones, and provides a filter through the mesh of aerial roots that retains the particles that might pollute the lagoon.
This is a nursery where numerous species of fish lay their eggs so their offspring might grow up sheltered from predators; the tasty seafood like the mangrove crab can be found also in the mangrove.
In New Caledonia, the surface covered by mangroves is 220 km ² or 1.3% of the total land area. They are situated in sheltered bays at the mouths of rivers where they cover larger areas. The geographical distribution of mangroves is mostly on the Western Coast. This coast has large plains where the rivers are stretching gently forming deltas at their mouths.
The Heart of Voh, found in the Northern part of Grande Terre (Mainland), was made famous by the cover of the book The Earth from Above (La Terre vue du Ciel) by the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. It is a natural clearing in the mangroves bordering the Caledonian lagoon. The powerful message sent by this curiosity of nature made the Heart of Voh a symbol of the Earth and the imperative of preserving it.