Showing posts from June, 2014

Study: Roadside Vegetation Can Provide $1.5 BILLION in Ecosystem Services

A recently released Florida Department of Transportation study conservatively estimates that roadside vegetation along the state highway system performs nearly a half-billion dollars worth of ecosystem services. The study found that value would increase to $1 billion if sustainable vegetation management practices such as reduced mowing were adopted. The value would triple to $1.5 billion if wildflower areas were incorporated into roadside landscapes. Ecosystem services include carbon sequestration, runoff prevention, and support of crop pollinators and other insects, as well as contributions to air quality, invasive species resistance and roadside aesthetics. Native roadside wildflowers in Florida's Panhandle The Florida Wildflower Foundation requested the Florida Department of Transportation study on behalf of the Florida Native Plant Partnership, which includes the foundation, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, Florida Native Plant Society, and Florida Wildflower Pla

Two Florida scrub endemics

The welcome sign for Hickory Lake Scrub. I visited Hickory Lake Scrub, a 57-acre preserve,  in May and I loved that I found quite a number of plants that I'd never seen before. A scrub habitat is not to be rushed through.  To begin to appreciate it, you need to slow down —way down. Besides the plants there is a rich ecosystem filled with critters.  It's fun to examine the tracks in the sandy soil to guess what has taken place. Here are two endemic plants that I found: Scrub morning glory ( Bonamia grandiflora ) Scrub morning glory with its pale lavender flowers. Bonamia grandiflora distribution The scrub morning glory or lady's nightcap is obviously a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), but it belongs to a different genus than the majority of  the morning glories — Bonamia not Ipomoea . This is the only species in this genus native to the US. It is threatened and endangered and various sources state that there are only 100 popul

Grieving the loss of a small bit of nature in my neighborhood

By Alex Farr (Sea Oats Chapter member) I first saw the sign on a walk around the block, on my way to the corner swamp.  "Oh, no.  This can't be good!"....flashed through my mind, and all of the horrors of the bulldozer followed that thought.  But that was in October, still not much building happening, and anyway, with all this talk of global warming, water rising, huge hurricanes, impossible insurance rates (if any insurance at all), would  make these lots a hard sell. How hard would it be to sell these lots? Late February---I heard that all too familiar sound of beep, beep, beep, diesel engines, swoosh, the sickening sound of trees falling.  But I was off to work, not time to investigate.  Turning down my little lane that afternoon, I was horrified to be able to see the next street over, and the condo's on the next street.  The trees and entangled growth that blocked that view were gone.  It was the site of that For Sale sign back in October! I realized h