Friday, June 12, 2009

austin cary teaching forest

Our final field trip for Local Flora was to Austin Cary forest.  Austin Cary is owned by the University of Florida's School of Forestry for the purpose of teaching forest management techniques such as prescribed burns (that is what we're calling controlled burns these days), and ecofriendly(er) tree farms.  The habitat is predominantly mesic flatwoods which, depending on the elevation, grades into sandhills (higher elevation) or swamps (lower elevations).

Mesic flatwoods occur on relatively flat, moderately to poorly drained terrain.  The soil is acidic and typically consists of 1-3 feet of sand over a hard clayey subsoil.  The habitat is prone to seasonal flooding during the rainy season and drought during the dry season.  The system is occasionally prone to fire, burning every 5-10 years.  Mesic flatwoods are the most widespread and common biological communities in Florida.  

On the one hand I was sad this was our last trip, on the other VERY happy.  It was about 90 degrees out by 10:00am.  Much too hot for me to care about what this plant looks like in its natural setting.  I'm all about being out in the woods having a good ol time.  I just prefer not to melt in the process.  I was the person muttering "Please rain.  Please rain.  Please rain."  When there was not a cloud in the sky.  A girl can dream can't she?

Hypercium brachyphyllum (Coastal plain St. John's wort)

Diodia virginiana (Button weed)

Austin Cary Forest

Woodwardia virginiana (Virginia chain fern)

Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken fern)

Gaylussacia nana (Glue huckleberry)

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