saving florida's agriculture

Ecologists and Land Developers Team Up to Save Florida’s Agriculture

Florida supports the greatest diversity of plant species in the whole of the United States. Climate change which increases sea levels and temperature, lack of proper fire management techniques, together with urban development are the major threats to Florida’s plant population. While some native plants in Florida’s agriculture are lucky to still survive, others are not. 

As the population increases, the need to construct more housing and structures increases. Additionally, roads and highways are not left behind, which leads to harming or, in most cases, killing of these plants to replace their habitat. But what are ecologists and land developers doing to rescue native plant species of Florida’s agriculture?

Eliminating Invasive Species

An invasive species is a non-native plant that quickly grows and spreads to other areas, taking the space of other native plants and interrupting their growth. Florida’s agriculture has been battling invasive plants for years. 

The University of Florida did a study and The Nature Conservancy showed that almost $45 million in state and federal funding is spent in controlling invasive plants. These plants have proven to be a threat to other plants because failure to eliminate them leads to reducing or losing native plant species and disrupting another ecosystem.

As time goes by, these invasive species might develop resistance to herbicides, which requires long-term solutions such as biological control research. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission works to find effective and safe control methods that are cost-friendly.

Ecologists work with land developers to control invasive plants by encouraging new plants while planting them. They also assist homeowners in identifying these harmful plants and educate them about their threats. 

Also, ecologists provide alternative suggestions during landscaping projects for planting instead of the nuisance plants.

Plant Rescues and Restoration on Publicly Owned Lands

In most cases, we call land developers to assist with land clearing. Land developers understand different safe methods that can be used. For example, burning might be beneficial to some plants but, on the flip side, helps in controlling nuisance plants.

During the land clearing process, ecologists transplant plants from areas where they are likely to be easily destroyed to other safe habitats. This process involves conducting thorough research into the new habitat’s ecology.

In addition, ecologists have also adopted another way of rescuing plants, which is producing seedlings from unrelated parents and taking care of them until they are ready to be planted onto publicly owned land.

Offer Education and Support with Land Management Projects

Land developers team up with ecologists and landowners in identifying the most appropriate way of handling any property and best management practices in Florida. Examples of management practices are prescribed burning and burning preparation, timber harvest and hardwood reduction, also known as thinning, vegetation monitoring and native vegetation planting, ground cover restoration, and lastly, mowing of vegetation. 

Ecologists educate land developers and farm owners about simple techniques that can be used during the first stages of planting. Similarly, they encourage the use of a simple irrigation system to prevent erosion that might harm plants.

In an interview with Fox News, Basil Iannone, an assistant professor with UF Forest Resources and Conservation, explained the need to use plant materials for landscaping such as Bahiagrass sod. Additionally, he added that non-native plants use heavy fertilizers and irrigation systems. Sod is a low-maintenance grass used to control pests and erosion in agricultural projects in Florida.

Some land developers and ecologists provide free consultation services with landowners. In extension, they also clear invasive species and replace them with the natives.

Take Part in Saving Florida’s Agriculture

At Grovin Farms, we work together with public ecologists to ensure proper land management and aid in monitoring native species of Florida’s agriculture. Our team is dedicated to giving you safe land developing services that consider and take care of every vital plant species you would like to see even in the future.

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