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conservation program

The Conservation program's mission is to protect and maintain the ecological integrity of the Station's habitats and species through adaptive management practices as well as collect long-term monitoring data to support the needs of conservation, research, education, and extension activities at OSBS. Examples of data collected are:

  • Annotated species lists
  • Flora & DNA barcoding
  • Weather - 4 automated weather station, onsite Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
  • Hydrology (surface water quaility, ground water levels, lake levels)
  • Vegetation trends (sandhill vegetation reference plots, photo plots)
  • Fire History, fire effects, live fuel moisture
  • Exotic-invasive plant monitoing & control

Communities and Species
OSBS has a mosaic of habitats such as sandhill, baygalls, marsh lakes, xeric hammock, basin swamp, clastic upland lakes, upland mixed forest, basin marsh, and sandhill upland lakes. This diversity of communities offers a wide array of habitats and organisms for study. Approximately 516 species of plants and 284 species of vertebrates have been cataloged for the Station and of these, 26 are fish, 27 are amphibians, 45 are reptiles, 149 are birds, and 35 are mammals. The Florida mouse, Sherman fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, striped newt, rosemary wolf spider, bald eagle, gopher frog, and black bear are some examples of species that frequent the site. Cataloging of invertebrate species is ongoing. OSBS maintains a herbarium that is available to users of the Station.

Fire Management

As in many of Florida's pyrogenic communities, prescribed fire is our primary conservation tool used to maintain the natural fire regimes. Prescribed fire, also known as controlled burning,is the skillful application of fire to wildland fuels in either their natural or modified state, under specified environmental conditions which allow the fire to be confined to a predetermined area and at the same time to produce the intensity of heat and rate of spread required to attain planned resource management objectives. A combination of dormant and growing season prescribed burns as well as lightening ignited fires are utilized to maintain the longleaf pine-wiregrass community on the Station.

The Fire Management Program at OSBS integrates habitat management with education/training and research as often as possible. An example of this is the annually mentoring opportunity for students to participate on prescribed fires with wildland fire professionals from the National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center at Ordway-Swisher in the winter and early spring months.

Copyright ©2000-2015, Ordway-Swisher Biological Station

Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
 Gainesville, FL 32611