South Florida Terrestrial Ecosystems Lab
Southeast Environmental Research Center

Miami Rock Ridge Projects

1994-1997 — Windthrow in South Florida Pine Rocklands: Pit-and-Mound Features and Plant Microhabitat Associations Following Hurricane Andrew.
  Pine forest understories consist of a wide array of herbaceous plants, shrubs, and hardwood and pine seedlings. The uprooting of adult trees during Hurricane Andrew (1992) provided an opportunity to examine spatial patterning in the pine forest understory. We selected a wet site in Big Cypress National Preserve and a more xeric site in Everglades National Park for their differences in morphology and substrate dynamics. In the Everglades site, the "pits" left by the tip-ups were more speciose than the "mounds", whereas in Big Cypress the "mounds" were more speciose than the "pits". This suggests that fine-scale structuring in the understory assemblages can be significantly affected by pine uprooting due to periodic hurricanes.