Jimi Sadle, a botanist who works at the Park, explained that there hasn’t been a relevant plant study in the Florida wetlands in more than 25 years.
There are more than 760 plant species in the region that need to be studied periodically and Sadle said that the experts now know what the situation is, and it’s not a promising one.
According to George Gann, chief conservation strategist at the Institute for Regional Conservation, the new study confirms what previous one have indicated, that one out of every 4 plant species from Florida is either extinct or on the endangered list.
Gann hopes that the new study will lead to more protection measures for the plants species that are critically threatened with extinction. At the moment there is only one plant in the Everglades National Park that is protected by the Endangered Species List.
Even if the new findings will not encourage the officials to do something about the future of the plants, at least the park managers will know which plants to protect, said Gann.
In his study, Gann identified the habitats of the plants, not just the plants that are endangered. He said that by doing this he can spot the problematic areas in the park, which will allow the managers to take measures.
According to the new study, the plant species that are the most endangered ones include ferns and orchids.
The study began in 2003 when the Everglades National Park hired Gann to analyze 30 of the rarest plants that lived there. Most of these plants lived on Long Pine Key, which made Gann focus his research in that region of the park.
Poaching still remains the biggest risk factor for most plants, especially for rare orchids and ferns. But the study shows that in the past 25 years, another threat is on the rise, and that is climate change which triggers rising seas.
Gann stated that:
“As human beings we’ve done a lot of damage to the native flora that we might not realize.”
Image Source: tripadvisor