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Tree islands, a prominent feature in both the marl prairie and ridge and slough landscapes of the Everglades, are sensitive to large-scale restoration actions associated with the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) authorized by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2000 to restore the south Florida ecosystem. More specifically, changes in hydrologic regimes at both local and landscape scales are likely to affect the internal water economy of islands, which in turn will influence plant community structure and function. To strengthen our ability to assess the “performance” of tree island ecosystems and predict how these hydrologic alterations would translate into ecosystem response, an improved understating of reference conditions of vegetation structure and function, and their responses to major stressors is important. In this regard, a study of vegetation structure and composition in relation to associated physical and biological processes was initiated in 2005 with initial funding from Everglades National Park and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The study continued through 2011 with funding from US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) (Cooperative Agreement # W912HZ-09-2-0019 Modification No.: P00001).


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



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