FLORIDA INVASIVE SPECIES

Mangroves at Matanzas Pass Preserve in Fort Myers Beach.

Native mangroves at Matanzas Pass Preserve in Fort Myers Beach.

This week is National Invasive Species Awareness week. The focus of this week is on invasive plants and animals introduced to the United States.

Sometimes species are introduced intentionally.  Australian pine trees were planted years ago in Florida to soak up “swamp” lands. However a press release by the Florida Department of Environment Protection states Australian pine trees have a negative impact on the Florida ecosystem. The trees grow five or more feet each year and crowd out native species.

 Matanzas Pass Preserve in 1944.

The natural area of Matanzas Pass Preserve in green and development in red in 1944.

 

The encroachment of the shoreline in1998 at Matanzas Pass Preserve.

The green area on the map represents the natural area in 1998 at Matanzas Pass Preserve. Red is the development.

Like most of our solutions to the environment things never go as intended. To satisfy our thirst for oil we focus on drilling and not conservation. The lack of appreciation, foresight and unwillingness to adapt is at the heart of so many our decisions about our natural resources. Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina had enormous consequences but still development on coastlines continue to grow. In Florida, our shorelines are crowded with hotels, homes, and condos.

I don’t live on the shoreline yet I walk out of my door and see egrets and ducks. Am I an invasive species?

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