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Updated: 11/24/2017 08:30:01AM

Restoring Florida’s natural upland habitat

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Biologists evaluate vegetation at Okaloacoochee Slough WMA.


Biologists evaluate vegetation at Okaloacoochee Slough WMA.

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One essential component of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s (FWRI) mission to “protect, conserve, and manage Florida’s fish and wildlife resources” is evaluating, monitoring and restoring Florida’s natural upland habitat. This task falls to scientists with FWRI’s Upland Habitat Research and Monitoring program. In short, Upland Habitat scientists maintain and restore the native habitats that provide food and cover for our upland wildlife species and keep our natural resources plentiful, allowing future generations to enjoy Florida’s extraordinary lands.

The Upland Habitat program consists of highly skilled ecologists and botanists who analyze and monitor the ecological structure of FWC lands, develop and execute land restoration projects, and design research projects to guide land restoration. This program is critical to preserve our state’s beauty and resources as Florida’s residents and regular tourists have seen a drastic change in the state’s natural areas. Exotic plant species replace Florida’s native plants, and agricultural operations and urban development replace natural areas. The Upland Habitat team works to reverse these trends by focusing on the Native Ground Cover Restoration (GCR) program and the Objective-Based Vegetation Monitoring (OBVM) program.

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