Archbold Biological Station
Biennial Report 1995-1996

P.O. Box 2057 Lake Placid, Florida 33862 USA
Phone:
863-465-2571 FAX: 863-699-1927
email

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Accomplishments 1995-96

• Archbold staff served in 23 positions on Boards and Advisory Committees dealing with statewide conservation issues including the Greater Arbuckle Ecosystem Working Group (now called the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem Working Group), the Natural Resources Advisory Council of Highlands County, The Board of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the Nongame Advisory Committee of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.

• The Lake Wales Ridge continues to be the number one acquisition priority for Florida's Preservation 2000 Program.

• Several major Lake Wales Ridge sites, including Lake June West and Lake Walk in the Water, were acquired by the State.

• The Station acquired another 25 acres of pristine scrub habitat using private donations to the Land Acquisition Fund.

• Reed Bowman and Hilary Swain were both recognized as "Conservation Colleagues" by the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy for their role in developing a habitat conservation plan for Florida scrub-jays in Brevard County.

• Mark Deyrup and Tom Eisner continue to unravel enchanting natural history stories that capture the imagination of both the public and community leaders.

Conservation

 

One of the features that sets Archbold Biological Station apart is the extent to which our research community conducts their science in a manner that has resulted in decisive conservation action and helped save ecologically priceless and severely threatened ecosystems. Eric Menges’ work on metapopulation structure and population viability analysis has improved our understanding of the probability of survival for the endemic plants of the Lake Wales Ridge. Multi-disciplinary research on the effects of fire is helping ensure that necessary prescribed burns mimic the natural processes that maintained ecosystem integrity in pre-settlement Florida. Recent studies by John Fitzpatrick, Glen Woolfenden, Reed Bowman, and Brad Stith, on the effects of habitat fragmentation on Florida scrub-jays, have been the basis of a design for protected-area networks for scrub communities throughout Florida, and provided a framework for habitat management at sites such as Avon Park Air Force Range. Research by Tom Bancroft and other scientists at MAERC is playing a critical role in determining how cattle ranches can help maintain Florida’s biodiversity. MAERC biologists conducting research on the restoration of the Kissimmee River are participants in the largest floodplain restoration project in the world.

Publication of scientific results is not the only record of a field station's progress. Our staff serve on many conservation-related Boards and Advisory Committees (see sidebar) where they are able to couple scientific information with the social and political forces that lead to conservation success. Progress on Lake Wales Ridge scrub acquisition in the past two years, based on Station-initiated reserve designs in 1989, has been encouraging. During 1995–1996, The Nature Conservancy (on behalf of the state of Florida) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed land acquisition at Lake June West, Lake Walk in the Water, Apthorpe, and much of the Holmes Avenue and Flamingo Villas tracts, as well as at many other smaller sites (see map, page 27). The Station itself purchased 25 acres in 1995 at the southeastern corner of the Main Property, using private donations from the Land Acquisition Fund (see map on inside backcover). As of the end of 1996 thousands of acres along the Lake Wales Ridge have been purchased by the state as protected areas. Prescribed burns in scrub habitats are now scheduled up and down the Lake Wales Ridge, with interagency collaboration and training mediated through the interagency Greater Arbuckle Working Group, in which Archbold is a key participant.

It is both instructive and galvanizing to reflect on the mix of knowledge and scientific passion that can change public attitudes and define conservation policy. Without Archbold Biological Station nurturing a huge long-term capital in ecological knowledge, much of modern day Florida conservation would be diminished. As conservationists we have been hugely affected by the extent of habitat loss we witness and document. But our endeavors take place in an atmosphere in which expectations about conservation in Florida have been raised. Biennial years 1995–1996 were also years 6 and 7 of Preservation 2000, a 10-year state program which started, in 1990, to raise $300 million a year for the acquisition of environmentally endangered lands, much of it scrub. Conservation success stems from research such as that at Archbold Biological Station and Buck Island Ranch. Like conservation biologists throughout Florida, we capitalized on our scientific knowledge, and became seized with the power of possibility.

--Hilary M. Swain, Executive Director


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Lohrer, F.E. (Editor). 1998. Archbold Biological Station, Biennial Report 1995-1996. Archbold Biological Station, Lake Placid. 62 pp.
Archbold Biological Station, 1998 October.
Webmaster: Fred Lohrer.