Xeric Hammock

Box-R's tidal marshes, creeks, floodplain swamps, hammocks and pine uplands are part of a complex ecological system that includes the Apalachicola and Jackson rivers and Apalachicola Bay to the south. Box-R's habitats attract diverse wildlife and help to ensure a supply of clean water for Apalachicola Bay, which produces over 90 percent of Florida's oysters and is a major nursery for blue crabs and marine finfishes.

Slash and longleaf pine characterize small areas of natural pinewoods but the majority of Box-R's uplands were planted in slash and loblolly pines anywhere from 6 to 34 years ago. Ditches built to drain wet areas and create drier conditions more suitable for timber production have altered the natural flow of water on the property. Extensive marshes border portions of the two rivers while cypress-hardwood swamps line the smaller creeks.

See  Major Natural Communities.

 

Management

Wildlife clearing

Box-R is managed for a diversity of wildlife species through timber management (thinning and reforestation), prescribed burning and hydrological restoration. Wildlife openings are maintained and enhanced to attract deer, turkey, rabbits, quail, dove and snipe. Selective openings are planted with native or non-invasive agricultural crops to provide wildlife viewing opportunities, dove hunting, and high quality forage for deer, turkey, dove and quail. The FWC is restoring the forests on selected upland sites. Existing slash pine and loblolly pine plantations are grown out to harvestable sizes, commercially thinned and converted to longleaf pine where appropriate. The slash and longleaf pine flatwoods communities are managed with selective thinning and regular growing season burns to promote an open and grassy understory, with scattered saw palmettos and gallberry. Regular burns reduce hardwood competition, enhance pine seed germination, recycle nutrients and provide a diverse groundcover community for a variety of wildlife species. The growth of hardwoods and woody shrubs in existing clearcuts are controlled through herbicide treatment and prescribed fire and replanted in longleaf pine or slash pine.



FWC Facts:
Studies indicate fish-and-wildlife activities contribute more than $36 billion a year to Florida's economy.

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