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Pine Rockland Initiative... Information for Private Landowners
Healthy Pine Rockland
What is a Pine Rockland?
Pine Rocklands are a globally imperiled ecosystem that exist only in southern Florida and parts of the Bahamas. They are home to many rare plant and animal species, including six Federally Endangered plants and seven candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. A typical pine rockland is characterized by limestone outcroppings, a canopy of Florida Slash Pine, and a diverse, herbaceous understory. Pristine pine rocklands have all but disappeared due to development activities, leaving fragments representing only 2% of the original extent of pine rocklands within Miami-Dade County’s urban corridor. Existing fragments are threatened by habitat destruction, invasive pest plants, and fire suppression.
What is the Pine Rockland Initiative?
The Pine Rockland Initiative is part of a grant program funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC). The goal of the program is to restore pine rockland fragments. It provides funds for IRC to restore and manage private pine rocklands.Click the image below to see a powerpoint presentation about the program.
What will happen on my land?
IRC will actively manage your site and perform restoration activities to increase the quality of the habitat.
Management activities will include some or all of the following:
• Baseline Vegetation Monitoring- An IRC biologist will visit your site and assess the quality of the habitat. This includes a floristic inventory and a survey for rare or endangered plants.
• Invasive Exotic Plant Removal- A trained IRC restoration team of 1-6 people will remove exotic pest plants (such as Brazilian pepper, burmareed, woman's tongue, and gold coast jasmine). Some plants will be mechanically removed; others will be treated with herbicide. Initial treatments (exotic plant removal and, if applicable, hardwood removal) usually involve 1-2 visits a month for the first 3-6 months.
• Native Hardwood Removal- Pine rocklands that do not burn regularly are often invaded or overtaken by native hardwoods (such as poisonwood or live oak). While these plants are native, they will degrade pine rockland habitat if not controlled by fire or manually removed. Only large trees and areas of dense hardwoods will be removed or thinned.
• Prescribed Fire- Regular fire is vital to the long-term health of pine rockland habitat and naturally occurs every 3-7 years. To maintain optimal quality, pine rocklands need to burn at least once every 10 years. Our certified burn boss will create a fire prescription to ensure the health and safety of the habitat and surrounding areas. During burns, our burn boss will be on-site to oversee a trained and certified Florida Division of Forestry fire crew.
• Long-Term Monitoring- IRC will monitor the site at least once every six months. Vegetation will be inventoried at each of these visits and follow-up treatments for control of invasive exotic plants will be done as needed.
Why do it?
Management activities are provided free of charge and can help you meet the requirements for an Environmentally Endangered Lands Covenant for tax exemption through Miami-Dade County DERM. Participation also provides increased safety since maintained pine rocklands present a lower fire and hurricane risk than non-maintained pinelands. In addition, your land will be more aesthetically pleasing after restoration. Not only that, but it will be a healthier and more diverse habitat for rare plant and animal species. If you want to go green, there is no better way to do so than to be the steward of a globally imperiled habitat right in your own backyard!
Sample Pine Rockland Restoration Results
What's the catch?
Restoration is hard work. We would hate to see all that money and hard work go to waste. That is why landowners are required to sign a cooperative agreement with IRC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This agreement states that you will not develop on land actively managed by IRC for 10 years. It also states that if you change your mind during that period and refuse IRC’s assistance, you will be required to reimburse us for the amount that has been spent on your land. This is our way of ensuring that you are committed to restoring your land and keeping it healthy in the future.
How do I sign up?
Contact IRC at 305-247-6547 for more information or to set up a site visit with one of our restoration biologists. If the pine rockland on your property is of high enough quality that it can be restored and managed, we will provide you with a cooperative agreement to sign and will guide you through the rest of the process.
Since 1984, IRC has been dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biodiversity. As a south Florida-based nonprofit, we aim to prevent regional extinctions of rare plants, animals, and ecosystems. For a quarter of a century, we have worked to preserve south Florida’s natural heritage through partnerships with local, state, federal, and nonprofit agencies. We believe in the value of our regional ecosystem and remain committed to its conservation. Please join us in this endeavor!