The Institute for Regional Conservation

Miami, FL, United States

The Institute for Regional Conservation

Miami, FL, United States
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Duquesnel J.A.,Florida Park Service | Maschinski J.,Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden | McElderry R.,Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden | Gann G.D.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | And 2 more authors.
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2017

Successfully reintroducing rare plant populations to recover historical community composition may require multiple efforts and greater lengths of time than is typically devoted by researchers. To improve the probability of successful colonization and to learn about the life history of the regionally endangered mahogany mistletoe (Phoradendron rubrum) in the Florida Keys, United States, we conducted sequential augmentations for 10 years across two host tree sizes, two seed sources, and six recipient sites. Long-term monitoring for 13 years revealed that sowing fresh seeds in dry periods from introduced versus wild plants onto small diameter trees (<20 cm diameter at breast height [dbh]) that had branch diameters 15–20 mm resulted in the greatest colonization success. An average of 38.7% of seeds germinated and 23.8% survived to 2015. Plant development was quite slow. Seeds required over 100 days to germinate, 1.6 years for cotyledon emergence, and over 4.7 years to produce fruit. We detected first recruitment nearly 8 years after installation. Population growth improved following multiple attempts and expanded spatial extent as is predicted by theory. Portions of the life cycle are undetectable and thus could give false indications of reintroduction success or failure. Achieving and documenting unequivocal success of this reintroduction has required over a decade. © 2017 Society for Ecological Restoration

Hardwick K.A.,Royal Botanic Gardens | Fiedler P.,Oakland University | Lee L.C.,L.C. Lee and Associates | Pavlik B.,Mills College | And 32 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2011

Many of the skills and resources associated with botanic gardens and arboreta, including plant taxonomy, horticulture, and seed bank management, are fundamental to ecological restoration efforts, yet few of the world's botanic gardens are involved in the science or practice of restoration. Thus, we examined the potential role of botanic gardens in these emerging fields. We believe a reorientation of certain existing institutional strengths, such as plant-based research and knowledge transfer, would enable many more botanic gardens worldwide to provide effective science-based support to restoration efforts. We recommend botanic gardens widen research to include ecosystems as well as species, increase involvement in practical restoration projects and training practitioners, and serve as information hubs for data archiving and exchange. ©2011 Society for Conservation Biology.

Carnevali G.,Research Center Cientifica Of Yucatan | Carnevali G.,Harvard University | Trejo-Torres J.C.,Research Center Cientifica Of Yucatan | Trejo-Torres J.C.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | And 6 more authors.
Phytotaxa | Year: 2016

Marsdenia (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae, Marsdeniae) is represented by five species in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula (vs. seven in the whole of the province), one of which is herein proposed as new to science. The new species, Mardenia calichicola Carnevali & Juárez-Jaimes, is only known from a narrow strip of sub-xerophytic forests over calcareous, rocky soils along the northwestern edge in the Yucatán state of Mexico. Marsdenia calichicola is morphologically similar and likely related to M. gallardoae and M. trivirgulata. Among other characters, it differs from Marsdenia gallardoae by the presence of a corona composed of cushion-like calli (corolla lacking calli in M. gallardoae) whereas M. trivirgulata has a glabrous or glabrescent corolla (vs. pubescent in M. calichicola); additional characters are herein discussed. We provide pertinent iconography to aid in the identification of the new species plus a key to diagnose the three species in the M. trivirgulata complex. The conservation status of the new taxon is assessed against the IUCN criteria as CR. A distribution map and a key to the species of Marsdenia from the Yucatan Peninsula Biotic Province are presented. © 2016 Magnolia Press.

PubMed | University of Xalapas, The Institute for Regional Conservation, Pulsar Group LLC, Volcan Toliman 6100 and 51 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature plants | Year: 2016

A high proportion of plant species is predicted to be threatened with extinction in the near future. However, the threat status of only a small number has been evaluated compared with key animal groups, rendering the magnitude and nature of the risks plants face unclear. Here we report the results of a global species assessment for the largest plant taxon evaluated to date under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Categories and Criteria, the iconic Cactaceae (cacti). We show that cacti are among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed to date, with 31% of the 1,478 evaluated species threatened, demonstrating the high anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity in arid lands. The distribution of threatened species and the predominant threatening processes and drivers are different to those described for other taxa. The most significant threat processes comprise land conversion to agriculture and aquaculture, collection as biological resources, and residential and commercial development. The dominant drivers of extinction risk are the unscrupulous collection of live plants and seeds for horticultural trade and private ornamental collections, smallholder livestock ranching and smallholder annual agriculture. Our findings demonstrate that global species assessments are readily achievable for major groups of plants with relatively moderate resources, and highlight different conservation priorities and actions to those derived from species assessments of key animal groups.

Nungesser M.,South Florida Water Management District | Saunders C.,South Florida Water Management District | Coronado-Molina C.,South Florida Water Management District | Obeysekera J.,South Florida Water Management District | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Management | Year: 2015

Restoration efforts in Florida’s Everglades focus on preserving and restoring this unique wetland’s natural landscape. Because most of the Everglades is a freshwater peatland, it requires surplus rainfall to remain a peatland. Restoration plans generally assume a stable climate, yet projections of altered climate over a 50-year time horizon suggest that this assumption may be inappropriate. Using a legacy regional hydrological model, we simulated combinations of a temperature rise of 1.5 °C, a ± 10 % change in rainfall, and a 0.46 m sea level rise relative to base conditions. The scenario of increased evapotranspiration and increased rainfall produced a slight increase in available water. In contrast, the more likely scenario of increased evapotranspiration and decreased rainfall lowered median water depths by 5–114 cm and shortened inundation duration periods by 5–45 %. Sea level rise increased stages and inundation duration in southern Everglades National Park. These ecologically significant decreases in water depths and inundation duration periods would greatly alter current ecosystems through severe droughts, peat loss and carbon emissions, wildfires, loss of the unique ridge and slough patterns, large shifts in plant and animal communities, and increased exotic species invasions. These results suggest using adaptive restoration planning, a method that explicitly incorporates large climatic and environmental uncertainties into long-term ecosystem restoration plans, structural design, and management. Anticipated water constraints necessitate alternative approaches to restoration, including maintaining critical landscapes and facilitating transitions in others. Accommodating these uncertainties may improve the likelihood of restoration success. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Krauss K.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | From A.S.,IAP World Services Inc. | Doyle T.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | Doyle T.J.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Barry M.J.,The Institute for Regional Conservation
Journal of Coastal Conservation | Year: 2011

The Ten Thousand Islands region of southwestern Florida, USA is a major feeding and resting destination for breeding, migrating, and wintering birds. Many species of waterbirds rely specifically on marshes as foraging habitat, making mangrove encroachment a concern for wildlife managers. With the alteration of freshwater flow and sea-level rise trends for the region, mangroves have migrated upstream into traditionally salt and brackish marshes, mirroring similar descriptions around the world. Aside from localized freezes in some years, very little seems to be preventing mangrove encroachment. We mapped changes in mangrove stand boundaries from the Gulf of Mexico inland to the northern boundary of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) from 1927 to 2005, and determined the area of mangroves to be approximately 7,281 hectares in 2005, representing an 1,878 hectare increase since 1927. Overall change represents an approximately 35% increase in mangrove coverage on TTINWR over 78 years. Sea-level rise is likely the primary driver of this change; however, the construction of new waterways facilitates the dispersal of mangrove propagules into new areas by extending tidal influence, exacerbating encroachment. Reduced volume of freshwater delivery to TTINWR via overland flow and localized rainfall may influence the balance between marsh and mangrove as well, potentially offering some options to managers interested in conserving marsh over mangrove. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA).

Saha S.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Bradley K.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Ross M.S.,Florida International University | Hughes P.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | And 3 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2011

We investigate the effects of Hurricane Wilma's storm surge (23-24 October 2005) on the dominant tree Pinus elliottii var densa (South Florida slash pine) and rare plant species in subtropical pine rocklands of the Lower Florida Keys. We examine the role of elevation on species abundance in 1995 (Hurricane Betsy in 1965), 2005 (Hurricane Georges in 1998), and 2008 (Hurricane Wilma in 2005) to investigate if hurricanes influence abundance by eliminating plants at lower elevation on Big Pine Key, the largest island in the Lower Florida Keys. We compare densities before and after Hurricane Wilma over the 2005-2008 sampling period and examine the role of elevation on changes in pine and rare species densities three years after Hurricane Wilma. We use elevation to assess the impact of hurricanes because elevation determined whether a location was influenced by storm surge (maximum surge of 2 m) in the Lower Florida Keys, where pine rocklands occur at a maximum elevation of 3 m. In 1995 (30 years after a major storm), elevation did not explain the abundance of South Florida slash pine or Chamaecrista lineata, but explained significant variation in abundance of Chamaesyce deltoidea. The latter two species are rare herbaceous plants restricted to pine rocklands. In 2008, 3 years after Hurricane Wilma, the positive relationship between elevation and abundance was strongest for South Florida slash pine, C. deltoidea, and C. lineata. Effects of Hurricane Wilma were not significant for rare species with wider distribution, occurring in plant communities adjacent to pine rocklands and in disturbed rocklands. Our results suggest that hurricanes drive population dynamics of South Florida slash pine and rare species that occur exclusively in pine rocklands at higher elevations. Rare species restricted to pine rocklands showed dramatic declines after Hurricane Wilma and were eliminated at elevations <0.5 m. Widely distributed rare species did not show significant changes in density after Hurricane Wilma. Abundance increased with elevation for South Florida slash pine and C. lineata after the hurricane. In an environment influenced by sea level rise, concrete plans to conserve pine ecosystems are warranted. Results from this study will help define conservation strategies by strengthening predictive understanding of plant responses to disturbance in the backdrop of sea level rise. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Trejo-Torres J.C.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Caraballo-Ortiz M.A.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | Caraballo-Ortiz M.A.,Pennsylvania State University | Vives-Heyliger M.A.,Barrio San Jose | And 3 more authors.
Phytotaxa | Year: 2014

Eugenia fragrans var.? fajardensis was described in 1895 and raised to species status in 1923 as E. fajardensis. In 1925, it was relegated to the synonymy of Anamomis fragrans (Myrcianthes fragrans). Since 2001, we have re-discovered wild plants and herbarium specimens, including a previously unidentified isotype of E. fajardensis, supporting the validity of this species. Here we designate a lectotype and an epitype for E. fajardensis. In addition, we provide: 1) an extended description for the species including the previously unknown flowers and fruits, an illustration, and photographs of live plants, 2) a key for the 24 taxa of Eugenia reported for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 3) descriptions of the three known populations. These populations collectively hold 182 plants in the islands of Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques. Based on the IUCN Red List Criteria, E. fajardensis meets the requirements to be considered a Critically Endangered species. © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Saha S.,Touro College | Saha S.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Sadle J.,Everglades National Park | Van Der Heiden C.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Sternberg L.,University of Miami
Ecohydrology | Year: 2015

We examine salinity, ground water depth, and water uptake of common plant species in coastal upland communities: buttonwood hammocks, hardwood hammocks, and buttonwood prairies of Everglades National Park. We show that the elevation gradient is gentle with a mean gradient of 0.12m North American Vertical Datum of 1988 from buttonwood prairie to hardwood hammocks, but the species composition and canopy cover among communities are different. Plant communities differ significantly in groundwater salinity. Hardwood hammocks have brackish groundwater [14-27 parts per thousand (PPT)], buttonwood hammocks have brackish to saline groundwater (23-35 PPT), and buttonwood prairies have saline groundwater (30-44 PPT). The depth to water table is greater for plants in hardwood and buttonwood hammocks than in buttonwood prairies, which makes the freshwater recharge capacity of vadose zone larger in hammocks than in buttonwood prairies. The majority of species accessed water from deep soil (5-30cm) and groundwater in dry season and switched to using shallow soil water (0-5cm) in wet season. Exception to this pattern is herbaceous Chromolaena frustrata, endemic to buttonwood hammocks of South Florida, which accessed shallow soil water in dry season and deep soil water in wet season. Our study assesses susceptibility of coastal upland species to sea level rise (SLR)-driven changes in water table and salinity; the results of which can be incorporated into planning for adaptation to SLR. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Saha A.K.,Florida International University | Saha S.,The Institute for Regional Conservation | Sadle J.,Everglades National Park | Jiang J.,University of Miami | And 4 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2011

Coastal ecosystems lie at the forefront of sea level rise. We posit that before the onset of actual inundation, sea level rise will influence the species composition of coastal hardwood hammocks and buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus L.) forests of the Everglades National Park based on tolerance to drought and salinity. Precipitation is the major water source in coastal hammocks and is stored in the soil vadose zone, but vadose water will diminish with the rising water table as a consequence of sea level rise, thereby subjecting plants to salt water stress. A model is used to demonstrate that the constraining effect of salinity on transpiration limits the distribution of freshwater-dependent communities. Field data collected in hardwood hammocks and coastal buttonwood forests over 11 years show that halophytes have replaced glycophytes. We establish that sea level rise threatens 21 rare coastal species in Everglades National Park and estimate the relative risk to each species using basic life history and population traits. We review salinity conditions in the estuarine region over 1999-2009 and associate wide variability in the extent of the annual seawater intrusion to variation in freshwater inflows and precipitation. We also examine species composition in coastal and inland hammocks in connection with distance from the coast, depth to water table, and groundwater salinity. Though this study focuses on coastal forests and rare species of South Florida, it has implications for coastal forests threatened by saltwater intrusion across the globe. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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