Andrews - Habitat and Management
Habitats provide the food, water, shelter and space animals need to thrive and reproduce. Several natural communities provide habitat for the fish and wildlife found here at Andrews. Two of the largest - floodplain swamp and hardwood hammock – border the Suwannee River. Few trees have been removed from the forest and many mature specimens tower overhead.
Large wet sloughs parallel the river and in some places project inland, forming islands of river-front bluffs. Scattered through Andrews are numerous sinkholes festooned with a variety of lush ferns.
Andrews is managed to conserve its native plants and animals. Invasive plant species are controlled through mechanical and chemical means. Some wildlife openings are planted with non-invasive agricultural species.
The southeast and northeast corners of the property currently consist of a mix of longleaf pine and commercial stands of slash pine. These areas are being restored to the sandhill and upland mixed woodland habitat that historically flourished here. Slash pine is harvested, and then longleaf pine and wiregrass are planted. Regular burning will maintain this fire-adapted plant community. Otherwise, little habitat restoration is needed at Andrews.
The nonnative wild hog population is controlled through managed hunts. Wild hogs damage the forest floor by churning up the ground and uprooting plants. They also compete with native wildlife for nuts, roots, berries and insects.
In addition to the management work described here, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rely on a wide range of techniques to ensure that natural areas throughout the state stay healthy for wildlife and inviting to visitors.