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Terrestrial Habitat Research

panoramic view of an upland habitat in Florida


Terrestrial Habitat researchers study the ecology and management of Florida’s forest, savanna, and ephemeral wetland ecosystems, which are essential to wildlife and biodiversity conservation.  Fire features prominently in nearly everything we do, as many of Florida’s most diverse terrestrial ecosystems are fire-dependent. Over the last century. the widespread practice of fire suppression caused the degradation of many of Florida’s fire-dependent terrestrial ecosystems, leading to the loss of both plant and animal biodiversity.  Now, land managers throughout Florida are reintroducing fire to these ecosystems, but fire reintroduction is tricky and must be done carefully.  Our lab helps support conservation in Florida through applied research that improves our understanding of fire effects in sensitive terrestrial ecosystems, helps develop techniques for successfully and safely restoring fire to Florida’s ecosystems, and informs strategies for propagating and reintroducing native plant species to sites where they have been extirpated.

Who We Are

Johanna Freeman, PhD
Team Leader

Amber Gardner, PhD
Research Associate

Shawn Clemons
Lab Manager/Research Assistant

Bailey Piper
Research Technician/Project Manager

Lauren Trotta
Biological Scientist II/Data Analyst

Alyssa Ward
Research Technician/Project Manager

Recent Publications and Reports


Plant List (Native Florida Species Found In Undisturbed Ecosystems)
The Terrestrial Habitat Plant List, complete with images, includes information such as each species' region, ecosystem type, interesting facts (including edibility, history, medicinal uses, etc), and plant family.

Contact Terrestrial Habitat
Contact information for the FWC's Terrestrial Habitat Research and Monitoring program.