Cutthroat Grass Seep
Cutthroat grass seep

Platt Branch was acquired using funds paid by developers through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Mitigation Park Program. The program is designed to compensate for habitat lost to development elsewhere. The management focus seeks to maintain and enhance listed wildlife, particularly the gopher tortoise, Florida scrub-jay and red-cockaded woodpecker, along with natural plant communities such as the old-growth longleaf pine flatwoods, which are at the southern limit of their range here. Few examples of this habitat remain in southern Florida.

In mature flatwoods, regular prescribed burns will diminish hardwoods in the midstory and encourage the flowering and abundance of grasses. Areas with naturally regenerating pines, such as flatwoods that were previously timbered, will be thinned, if necessary and managed with prescribed burns. Cleared pastures with scattered pine trees, will be managed to reduce the growth of wax myrtles in the midstory and encourage the spread of pines. Scrub habitat will be maintained with periodic fire. The natural colonization of oaks into pastures that were formerly scrub will be managed with periodic fire and mechanical methods to restore the open aspect of the canopy and bare ground necessary for foraging and acorn caching by scrub-jays.

FWC Facts:
Florida's official state butterfly, the zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) lives in hammocks, swamps & forests, sleeps in groups and returns to the same roost nightly.

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