hmbluck

Gulf Coast fieldtrip, July 2019

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The Florida Panhandle is one of the world's most important areas for biodiversity. 

This nine-day trip to the Gulf Coast states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi was arranged to explore the longleaf pine forests. Historically, these ecosystems once stretched right across the South, nearly unbroken, from Virginia to Florida to Texas. Today less than 5 percent remains of the 90-million acre original system, which included open pine savannas with a lush understory of native grasses and groundcover. These forests host a remarkably diverse plant and animal community that includes some 300 bird and 2,500 plant species. Many of them depend upon a structure that is maintained by a frequent fire cycle (either natural or through managed-burns). 

Of particular interest, were the bogs and other wetlands that provide a home to carnivorous plant communities. Due to man's unfortunate presence (drainage/land reclamation, development for housing, mining and logging activities) several of the sites may represent the last remnants of these communities. Many of the sites were on stewarded land (e.g. Nature Conservancy) whilst others were not. No detailed location information is provided in this album. 

Additionally, the trip also provided an opportunity to view wetland birds, insects, reptiles etc. 

Unfortunately, flash-flooding and heavy rainfall associated with Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry meant that several hiking trails were closed or impassable in Louisiana and Mississippi. Similarly, by the time I returned to Florida, water levels in Apalachicola National Forest and the prairies towards Gainesville had risen significantly. This meant that further opportunities to view additional sites was unfulfilled.

 

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Edited by hmbluck
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THanks a lot for sharing! Wonderful photos... and I appreciate a lot the introduction to the photos:tu:

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Nice to see these wonderful habitat photos, thanks for sharing.

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