Invasive Plant Program
Located at the tip of peninsular Florida, Everglades National Park protects the southern terminus of Florida's wetland complex known as the Everglades. Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. The principal ecosystem types within the park include shallow-water marine habitats, saltwater wetland forests and marshes, freshwater marshes and prairies, and upland complexes of pine and hardwood forests.
Map by U.S. ACOE
One of the major factors controlling the distribution of vegetation within the Everglades is the hydrologic pattern, which is defined by the depth, timing, and duration of inundation as well as the quality and salinity of the source water. The flat topography, temporal distribution of rainfall, and proximity to the coast all interact to determine the hydrologic regime over the region. Surficial geology and overlying soil type also influence plant species composition and abundance. Disturbances, both natural (including fire, freezes, hurricanes, etc.) and anthropogenic perturbation (such as altered fire regimes, drainage, development, and introduction of exotic pest plants) also impact vegetation patterns.
Everglades National Park is considered one of the most severely infested parks in terms of exotic plants. Some of the many introduced plant species, notably Schinus (Brazilian pepper), are considered to be the most serious long-term threat to the Everglades ecosystem.
Did You Know?
Over the course of thousands of years, the natural communities of South Florida have become well adapted to the devastating effects of seasonal hurricanes. In fact, such storms are considered an important element in the long-term health of the Everglades.