Landscape level assessment of the relationship of hydrologic conditions to tree island in water conservation Area 3

Brandt, Laura (1999) Landscape level assessment of the relationship of hydrologic conditions to tree island in water conservation Area 3. Gainesville, FL, University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit,

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Abstract

Water Conservation Area 3 is the largest of the water conservation areas covering approximately 2442 km2 (914 mi2). The habitats within this area of central Everglades marsh range from sloughs and wet prairies to sawgrass, brush, and tree islands. Elevation in WCA 3 ranges from 4 m (13 ft) in the north to 2.4 (6 ft) in the south (Schortemeyer 1980). This elevation gradient along with micro-elevation patterns, fire, and water management practices help to determine the distribution ofthe various habitats. Tree islands are areas that are slightly higher in elevation than the surrounding marsh where woody vegetation grows. Tree islands may foml over rock outcrops or as a result of the build up of peat deposits. Tree islands cover approximately 1-2% ofWCA 3 and are one of the most distinguishing features of the Everglades (Loveless 1959). They are important ecologically as sites ofhigh botanical species richness and as habitat for species such as wading birds, alligators, turtles, and deer. Tree islands are an integration ofmany processes operating over a range of temporal and spatial scales. Changes in water management practices in south Florida since the 18008 have impacted the distribution and health oftree islands. In WCA 3, over drainage in the north has lead to soil oxidation and to an increase in fire risk. During the 1970s many tree islands were burned as a result of wildfires (Schortemeyer 1980). In the south, alterations in natural hydropatterns resulted in the loss of tree islands due to flooding. Because tree islands are one of the distinguishing features of the Everglades landscape and provide habitat for a wide range of plants and animals restoration efforts need to ensure their conservation. To do this, the impacts of alternative restoration plans on tree islands need to be evaluated using a linkage of site specific biological· inventories with landscape level evaluation. Tree islands are not distributed evenly throughout the WCA 3~ therefore, the impacts of changes in hydrology on tree island condition will vary spatially. In evaluating alternative scenarios it will be important to target areas that include areas where conditions are currently suitable for tree islands as well as those areas where conditions are too wet or too dry. This report summarizes the spatial patterns of hydrologic conditions in WCA 3 for the period 1991-1995 and discusses how this type of information can be used with data on tree island distribution and condition to evaluate the effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on tree islands. (Document has 20pp.)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Landscape level assessment of the relationship of hydrologic conditions to tree island in water conservation Area 3
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Brandt, Laura
Date: 1999
Publisher: University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Latitude: 25.9545
Longitude: -80.4739
Projects: Research Work Order no. 184
Institution: University of Florida
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Uncontrolled Keywords: landscape level, assessment, relationship, hydrologic conditions, tree islands, Water Conservation Area 3; Everglades Wildlife Management Area Conservation Area Number 3; Florida
Subjects: Ecology
Aquaculture
Environment
Item ID: 964
Depositing User: Tisha Stockton
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2008 14:08
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 21:18
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/964

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