Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Habitat Restoration

I am excited to share that we are about to undertake a major step towards the restoration of our little forest!

Like many urban and natural areas, the Back Woods has been overrun with non native plants that often out-compete and displace our native plants and potentially alter the functions of the ecosystems.

Beginning as early as the end of this week, 3-5 man crews from Biological Research Associates will begin treating these non native invasive plant species mechanically and with herbicides.

Over the next 30-40 days sections of the forest will be closed as the treatments are applied. Signs will be posted to let you our guests know what areas have any entry restrictions.

The products that will be used are professional formulations of the same chemicals many of you may have used in your own gardens e.g. Roundup for weeds and Brush Be Gone for poison ivy.

In a few weeks time the treatments will become very noticeable. Many of the non native invasive vines and ferns that cover large areas in the forest will brown out as they die. Swaths of some non native invasive trees and large shrubs will be cut and removed opening up areas previously densely vegetated. Native species will once again have space to grow and thrive.

Please feel free to email any questions you may have about the process. I always enjoy the opportunity to share information on our restoration activities and the benefits of controlling non native species.

Here are a few links to information about non native plants in our natural areas.
(Control and ID of non native plants found in Hillsborough County for the homeowner can be found here.)
Florida Division of Forestry
UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Florida Invasive Plant Initiative in Parks
Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council

“…approximately 46% of the federally listed threatened and endangered species in the United States are considered to be imperiled in part due to impacts of invasive species….and…In Florida, approximately $30 million taxpayer dollars are spent annually on invasive plant management on natural areas and waterways” FLDOF

Non Native Invasive Plant Species Found in the Back Woods
(check out the links, you might be surprised to find a few of these in your own back yard)

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