Florida

Goulds Pineland Preserve

On December 7, 2016, The Nature Conservancy and Miami-Dade County held a celebratory event and new sign unveiling at Goulds Pineland Preserve in Miami, in recognition of the TD Forests Program and its local success in protecting critical forests. The preserve is a 43-acre remnant of the endangered Miami Rock Ridge Pinelands and home to over 130 native plant species, several of which are rare, threatened, and endangered. Thanks to the generous support of TD Bank in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy in Florida, the land will be fully protected and continually managed by Miami-Dade County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.

This rare habitat is located in one of the fastest growing areas of Miami-Dade County at SW 120th Avenue.  Its protection confirms the ability of communities, agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations to collaborate to safeguard an imperiled ecosystem in an urban setting. Pine rockland habitat consists of a tree canopy of slash pines and diverse vegetation and once encompassed some 185,000 acres across Miami-Dade County.

Beyond Everglades National Park, only small fragments remain. This globally threatened habitat -- only found in south Florida and the Bahamas -- is an oasis for plants and wildlife in the midst of urban development. Several butterflies, birds, and reptiles also call the Preserve home. This newly protected urban forest will provide more opportunities to urbanites to connect with native Florida and appreciate the wonders that nature offers.

Explore the Goulds Pineland Preserve with us.

PIne Rocklands such as this provide a natural sanctuary in the middle of an urban landscape. Looking at this photo it's hard to imagine this location is surrounded by development.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss and Pablo Pino of TD Bank unveiling new Goulds Pineland Preserve sign.

A native Florida cactus, the prickly pear is an important food source for the endangered Gopher Tortoise. The fruits and seeds of these plants are also eaten by wild turkeys and ground squirrels.

The gopher tortoise is seen as a keystone species because it digs burrows that provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species. They are threatened by predation and habitat destruction.

In addition to Saw Palmetto and Sabal Palms, the understory of pine rocklands contains many other interesting native plants, like this west indian lilac. The plant flowers during the spring and summer which are white or pinkish producing a brown oval fruit that attracts birds.

Pine warblers are among the many species of birds that can be observed at Goulds Pineland Preserve. These birds mainly eat insects and berries.

Poisonwood can be toxic to humans. It produces the irritant urushiol much like its close relatives poison sumac and poison oak. It is an important food source for the native and uncommon white-crowned pigeon. 

The federally endangered deltoid spurge is endemic to South Florida pine rocklands. This plant was listed as a result of habitat destruction which had reduced the deltoid spurgeís range by 98 percent resulting from urban expansion in the area.

Florida Slash Pines of different ages dominate the canopy of Goulds Pineland Preserve. A turkey vulture flies low in the background. It is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion.

Many species of butterflies and moths depend on pine rocklands as a food source for their larvae, such as this echo moth caterpillar. They are bright orange with black and yellow bands and bright white spiracles.

Queen butterfly, one of many butterfly species that use pine rocklands feeds on Spanish Needle. As an adult, the queen has two cousins to which it bears a striking resemblance: the more common monarch and the soldier.

 

Special thanks to The Nature Conservancy in Florida's Urban Conservation Director Greg Guannel, as well as Roberto Torres, Milica Koscica and Jerry Montgomery. We are grateful for all who attended, and for the Morning Star Baptist Church’s support, and look forward to continuing our relationship with Miami-Dade County, TD Bank, the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition and Commissioner Moss.

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