The Tampa Tribune is reporting on attempts by scientists to assess the ecological effects of the past hurricane season on the Florida Everglades. The removal of the tree canopy over wide swarths of land brings sunlight to soil, seedlings and saplings that has been deprived of it for years. Will wind, canopy gaps and soil disturbance be the perfect recipe for the conquest of the Everglades by Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius) and other invasive plants? No one can be sure, but conservation managers are specifically targeting areas damaged by the hurricanes as the primary targets for species surveys and habitat management.
Interested readers will want to follow up with this hurricane-related ISW post from December 2004, and this National Geographic article about nutria in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Thanks nuthatch!).
Tip of the virtual hat to Protect Your Waters for posting about the Tribune article.