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Within Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY), oak-dominated forests and woodlands as well as tropical and temperate hardwood hammocks are integral components of the landscape and are biodiversity hotpots for both flora and fauna. These broadleaved forest communities serve as refugia for many of the Preserve’s wildlife species during prolonged flooding and fires. However, both prolonged flooding and severe fires, which are important and necessary disturbance vectors within this landscape, can have deleterious effects on these forested communities. This is particularly true in the case of fires, which under extreme conditions associated with drought and elevated fuel loads, can burn through these forested communities consuming litter and understory vegetation and top killing most, if not all, of the trees present.


A report from the South Florida Terrestrial Ecosystems Lab (SOFTEL).