|Session III: Posters
||Abstract #: 97303
POPULATIONS, HABITATS AND LANDSCAPES: MULTI-SCALE APPLIED ECOLOGICAL STUDIES FOR RESTORATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEMS.
Frank J. Mazzotti, Mark Campbell, Michael Cherkiss, Faith Dehring and Jason Miller
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Belle Glade, Florida.
Successful restoration of damaged ecosystems requires understanding ecological phenomena that occur across large spatial and temporal scales. Another scale of nature is a biological hierarchy encompassing levels of complexity from molecules to the biosphere. Hierarchical levels of interest to ecosystem restoration include genes, individuals, populations, species, guilds, communities (habitats), ecosystems, and landscapes. Our approach to applying ecological studies to ecosystem restoration efforts considers biological as well as spatial and temporal scales. Population studies focus on evaluating the effects of hydrological restoration alternatives on the endangered American crocodile. An endangered species success story in progress, more crocodiles are nesting in more places today than 20 years ago. In 1989 Broward County passed a 75 million dollar bond issue to buy environmentally sensitive lands (ESL's). To date 17 sites have been acquired. The University of Florida and Broward County Parks and Recreation Division are working cooperatively to develop management and monitoring programs for 16 sites. An important part of this program is an ecological characterization of habitats found on ESL sites. Although fragmented and disturbed Broward County ESL sites have retained valuable ecological qualities. Alligator holes, by virtue of their ability to affect plant and animal communities, are considered a critical component of the Everglades landscape. Early efforts at evaluating the ecological role of alligator holes have focused on mapping and describing alligator holes. Combining remote sensing, field biology and laser mapping in a GIS/GPS environment offers a promising technology for this landscape level project.