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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Pinelands



INTRODUCED SPECIES
Melaleuca quinquenervia - the punk tree
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey



Pinelands:

Introduced Species

  • Casuarina tree and Brazilian pepper are amon the introduced species found in pinelands
Taking into account all the species introduced into the Everglades, Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly referred to as the melaleuca or broad-leaved paperbark, poses the greatest threat. Forming dense stands, this introduced species out-competes most of the native plantlife, greatly decreasing
diversity. Originally imported for its swamp drying abilities, it looses more water than native wetland species. This has resulted in the drying up of marshlands. It is extremely tolerant of fire, which further increases its range across the everglades.

Casuarina
courtesy National Park Service
Casuarina


Introduced from Australian and the East Indies during the late 1800s, the casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) tree is considered an invasive pest in south Florida. It grows rapidly along shorelines, decreasing the biodiversity of native species. Due to its shallow root system, this tree is easily uprooted by strong winds, resulting in beach erosion and destruction of sea turtle nesting habitat.

Brazilian Pepper
courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) is a particularly invasive species. It was orginally introduced as a landscape ornamental, and has spread rapidly through seed dispersal by birds. As an invader of pinelands, sawgrass marshes, coastal prairies, and hammocks, the Brazilian pepper is considered a serious threat to the native flora and fauna of the Everglades region.

For more information, visit:

South Florida Aquatic Environment: Introduced Species