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In the current managed Everglades system, the pre-drainage, patterned mosaic of sawgrass ridges, sloughs and tree islands has been substantially altered or reduced largely as a result of human alterations to historic ecological and hydrological processes that sustained landscape patterns. The pre-compartmentalization ridge and slough landscape was a mosaic of sloughs, elongated sawgrass ridges (50-200m wide), and tree islands. The ridges and sloughs and tree islands were elongated in the direction of the water flow, with roughly equal area of ridge and slough. Over the past decades, the ridge-slough topographic relief and spatial patterning have degraded in many areas of the Everglades. Nutrient enriched areas have become dominated by Typha with little topographic relief; areas of reduced flow have lost the elongated ridge-slough topography; and ponded areas with excessively long hydroperiods have experienced a decline in ridge prevalence and shape, and in the number of tree islands (Sklar et al. 2004, Ogden 2005).


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



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