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Miami, FL, United States

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).

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 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.

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.

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.

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