Pine rockland habitat in Florida
Pine rocklands are unique to southern Florida and the Bahamas. In Florida, they are found along the Miami Rock Ridge, within the Florida Keys, and in Big Cypress National Preserve. Pine rocklands occur on limestone substrate and are dominated by a South Florida slash pine canopy, a diverse hardwood and palm subcanopy, and a very rich herbaceous layer. The flora and fauna of pine rocklands, which includes many endemic species, is composed of a diverse assemblage of tropical and temperate taxa. Pine rocklands are a fire-maintained community; therefore, periodic natural or prescribed burns are required to eliminate invading hardwoods, assist in nutrient cycling, and to reduce duff layers. Pine rocklands have been heavily impacted by outright destruction, conversion to agriculture, fire suppression, exotic plant and animal invasions, collecting pressure on plants and animals, and alterations to hydrology. Photo by Jonathan Mays, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.