Peninsular Florida Plan
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Peninsular Florida
(Area - 6,799,900 ha)

Executive Summary

Peninsular FloridaDescription - This physiographic area is entirely contained within Florida. The area extends from the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee north to the Coastal Plain transitional zone around the Suwanee River in northern Florida. Most of the area is xeric upland on the Central Florida ridge. Habitats there include sandhill, scrub, and xeric hammock communities. Sandhill communities are dependent on frequent fires, and are dominated by longleaf pine and/or turkey oak, with an understory of wiregrass. Scrub communities are temperate or subtropical, with a less frequent occurrence of fire. Dominant vegetation includes sand pine and/or scrub oak. Xeric hammocks are dominated by live oak, sand live oak, laurel oak, and other oaks, with an understory of sparkleberry and saw palmetto. Other upland communities include mesic uplands, dominated by upland hardwoods or mixed hardwood pine forests. Wetlands and mangroves are also locally common to abundant in the physiographic area. Wetlands can include wet flatwoods, wet prairie, and hydric hammocks, as well as floodplain bottomland hardwood forests. Coastal uplands, such as beach dune, coastal berm, coastal grassland, and maritime hammock, are influenced by erosion, deposition, salt spray, and storms.
Priority Bird Populations and Habitats
Scrub and grasslands
PIF Florida Scrub Jay
PIF Grasshopper Sparrow Florida subspecies.
PIF Crested Caracara Florida population.
PIF Burrowing Owl Florida subspecies.

Wetlands and mangroves
PIF Snail Kite Everglades subspecies.
PIF Prairie Warbler Florida subspecies.
PIF Short-tailed Hawk United States population.
PIF Swallow-tailed Kite Southeastern U.S. subspecies.

Maritime scrub
PIF Painted Bunting Eastern subspecies.

Pine forests
PIF Red-cockaded Woodpecker
PIF Bachman's Sparrow
PIF American Kestrel Southeastern subspecies.
PIF Brown-headed Nuthatch

Complete Physiographic Area Priority Scores (Zipped, Dbase5 file 288K)
Key to Abbreviations: AI-Area Importance, PT-Population Trend, TB-Threats to Breeding. Priority Setting Process: General / Detailed

Conservation recommendations and needs - Conservation of bird habitats and bird populations in Peninsular Florida will require the help of private landowners. The region contains many large tracts that have managed their lands using low intensity silviculture and rangeland practices that are compatible with the habitat conservation needs of many species. Management of wildlife habitat on many private lands in this area has been excellent and conservation measures should focus on these private lands through positive incentives such as tax breaks, conservation easements or cooperative management agreements. Approximately 30,000 ha within this physiographic area has been conserved with conservation easements, and an additional 48,000 ha along Fishing Creek under consideration.

Conservation goals were established by assessing the estimate number of large tracts and viable populations for each priority species on managed areas within the physiographic area. Unless information exists suggesting otherwise, the habitat needed to sustain a large viable population is defined as the area needed to sustain at least 100 to 200 breeding pairs. If managed areas do not satisfy a minimum conservation acreage objective for species, recommendations for conservation of additional habitat blocks need to be made. Acreage objectives include:

  • Sandhill communities – an additional 30,000 ha, 
  • Oak scrub – an additional 10,000 ha, 
  • Upland mesic hardwoods – an additional 75,000 ha, 
  • Upland mixed forest – an additional 25,000 ha, 
  • Mesic flatlands – an additional 150,000 ha, and 
  • Floodplain swamp – an additional 100,000 ha.

Approximately 13.6% of the area has been conserved as public management areas, and proposed land-acquisition covers an additional 4.3%. Work with private landowners in agricultural areas and urban areas will be implemented as opportunity allows.

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Please send comments to:
Dean Demarest, PIF Southeast Regional Coordinator