Monday, December 3, 2012

Forest Education & Restoration

At one of our safety meetings a few weeks ago we heard a talk about wetland restoration.  On Saturday, we participated in our first ever restoration effort.  This one was ‘dry’ forest rehabilitation based.  The goal was to close off three sections of powerline road that have been illegally carved through the area.  We used brush to block off entrances and to break up the road line visually.  Then we replanted the areas with scrub oak that (we hope) will eventually create a natural prevention to the illegal flow.

 2012-12-1 Ocala
This trailer holds 500 of the 1500 scrub oak that we helped plant.

The Ocala National Forest protects the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub habitat—one of the oldest ecosystems in Florida. 


Some do not consider a scrub or sand pine forest as attractive as others or think of it as a forest at all.  No matter what your take on it as a forest, what matters most is what it means to the endangered or threatened species both plant and animal that live within its boundaries. 

Internet Fact: Over 40-60 percent of the scrub located in the Ocala are endemic species found nowhere else in the world.  Only three percent of the once 90 million acres of unique longleaf pine forest remains.

                 What a wetland should look like. 

The Ocala is considered an urban forest providing recreation to over 8 million people within an hours drive.  That’s a lot of impact! 

Speaking of impact… How ‘having a little fun’ can affect a wetland area.

Not long ago the Ocala was selected as one of the National Forest Foundation’s ‘Treasured Landscapes’ campaign sites.  In other words, it is a priority restoration site.  As a result, a program to aggressively close hundreds of miles of unofficial roadways to vehicular traffic was put into place.  Our work was part of this effort.

2012-12-1 Ocala (1)
One of three zones we planted.  You can see the legal road to the left of the powerlines and the illegal track (where we planted) to the right. 

2012-12-1 Ocala (2)
It provided us with a good bit of satisfaction being involved in this restoration.

Sure hope the local critters appreciate it.