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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Hardwood Hammocks



INTRODUCED SPECIES
Melaleuca Forest
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey



Hardwood Hammocks:

Introduced Species

  • Introduced species invade hardwood hammocks, outcompeting many native species

Introduced species invading the hammock habitats of south Florida include aggressive vines as well as shrubs and trees that outcompete native vegetation.

Air Potato and Brazilian Pepper Choke Native Vegetation
courtesy U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency

Exotics


Melaleuca
© U.S. Geological Survey
Melaleuca


Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly referred to as melaleuca or broad-leaved paperbark, poses the greatest threat from an introduced species to the Everglades. Loss of large amounts of water through the leaves of this tree results in the desiccation of marsh areas. This, along with its extreme tolerance of fire, inflicts major changes to habitats of the Everglades.


Australian Pine
courtesy NOAA
Australian Pine

The Australian pine, (Casuarina equisetifolia), introduced from Australia into the Everglades during the late nineteenth century. Growing along shorelines and islands, it quickly became established and is currently found throughout south Florida. This pine has shallow root systems and suffers damage from the frequent storms as well as soil erosion.

Brazilian Pepper
courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture
Brazilian Pepper

The Brazilian pepper, (Schinus terebinthifolius), was orginally introduced as an ornamental plant. Its range has been extended primarily through seed dispersal by birds. As an invader of pinelands, sawgrass marshes, coastal prairies and hammocks, the Brazilian pepper poses a serious threat to the native flora and fauna of the Everglades region.

For more information, visit:

South Florida Aquatic Environment: Introduced Species