The results of a new 10-year study suggest that around 60 rare plants in the Everglades have become endangered.
The Everglades are found in the southern region of Florida and are tropical wetlands. The Everglades National Park houses around 760 plant species and now researchers suggest that one of the main threats to some of the endangered plant species is poaching.
Aside from poaching, researchers believe that climate changes that caused the sea level to rise are also to blame for the rapid decline of the plant population in the Everglades.
Jimi Sadle, Everglades botanist, believes that the new study will encourage park officials to take action and protect the flora of the Everglades. The study will also help for easier management of the park resources.
George Gann, lead author of the study and chief conservation strategist at the Institute for Regional Conservation, revealed that one out of four plants that are native to Florida are now either extinct or endangered.
Gann believes that the Everglades are lacking appropriate protection and that this new study will help park officials to increase their protection efforts of the endangered plant species in the Everglades.
For the study, Gann and his colleagues examined 30 rare plants over a period of five years, but the study went on for five more years, after the park hired a botanist. The study went on to include details about the sea level rising and the effect it has on the species of plants in the Everglades.
The study revealed that 56% of the endangered plants in the Everglades can be found in the hardwood hammocks, followed closely by the pine rocklands, which house 27% of the endangered flora.
It was also found that some plants had actually became more endangered, while others moved to much safer spots on the endangered plants list. Out of all the plants in the Everglades, the most endangered plants still remain the orchids, closely followed by ferns.
As human beings we’ve done a lot damage to the native flora that we might not realize. Maybe we should do something about that … and think about what that means for stewardship.
Image Source: Harvard Politics