Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area

The Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area is an archipelago of small sites stretching 80 miles from Key Largo almost to Key West. These sites contain some of the best examples of undisturbed tropical hardwood hammocks remaining in Florida. Many of the tropical hardwood hammocks on the south Florida mainland and in the Keys have been lost to development because they occupy higher, drier land suitable for human habitation.

Wahoo Key
Randy Grau
"Mechanized recreation already has seized nine-tenths of the woods and mountains; a decent respect for minorities should dedicate the other tenth to wilderness." 
-Aldo Leopold, The Upshot, 1949

Tropical hardwood hammocks are the only tropical hardwood forests in the continental United States and are among the most imperiled natural communities in the world. This area was acquired to protect and to restore native plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the continental United States and some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The hammocks are critical feeding and resting areas for scores of migratory bird species on their way between the eastern half of North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. The tropical hardwood hammocks are also important resting and feeding areas for the threatened white-crowned pigeon that nests on isolated offshore mangrove islands but finds its source of food in the hammocks. The berries of the poisonwood tree are a main food for this rare bird. The hardwood hammocks on the keys are home to the endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly, the exquisite Liguus tree snail, and numerous other rare and interesting creatures.

 




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

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