Chapter I: The Value of Florida’s State Forests

Meet Some of Nature’s Most Fragile Members

Wood Stork
The wood stork - the only stork that breeds in North America - is just one of Florida’s dozens of endangered species.

Florida’s forests prove a retreat from civilization for us humans, but, for many creatures, the forests are simply home. Rare species, like the gopher tortoise and bald eagle, depend upon unique ecosystems to survive. Flanked by singular plants and unique natural communities, this region boasts diversity at every level. Each state forest claims a distinctive blend where streams drift through bottomland hardwoods, estimated by some to have existed in southeastern America as long as 100 million years.

Florida’s great horned owls are the solitary breed that nests in forked limbs of trees rather than in cavities.

Home to hundreds of species labeled endangered, threatened and of special concern, Florida’s state forests maintain the precarious balance of life each requires for continued existence. When natural or man-made disasters, such as tornadoes or wildfire, strike, carefully designed forest management practices restore order. All the while, clean air and water sustain multiple bio-systems even while tempting 21st-century human beings away from urban sprawl and back into nature’s spell.

Next: Working Together in the Wild