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Science

Science - Black Bear - promo list

We are committed to a culture of scientific excellence, adhering to the highest standards of integrity and transparency, and are viewed as valued contributors to the broader scientific community.  – Conserving the Future, Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation

  • Inventory, Monitoring and Research

    Monitoring - promo list

    Inventories, monitoring and research are essential programs that give us information necessary to implement high-quality ecosystem management.  Inventory procedures allow us to take stock of what plants, animals and habit types we have in our ecosystems.  Since you cannot properly manage what you don’t know, inventories are often the first course towards effective management.  Where inventories give us numbers of species, population size and acreages, further monitoring of populations and acreages allow us to see changes in what we are charged to manage, and allow us to pursue ways to adjust our practices accordingly to meet our management goals.  As inventories and monitoring are essential stepping stones to management, research is warranted when these procedures indicate problems or data gaps within an ecosystem that must be investigated to determine the proper management direction.  These three processes form an encyclopedia of information which our management decisions are based on and allow us to practice effective conservation, preservation and restoration.  

    To illustrate inventory, monitoring and research processes on the refuge, continue reading about a prime example, "A Case for Panthers."   

  • Inventory and Monitoring Panthers and Their Prey

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    Infrared-triggered remote cameras have been used to survey panther use of highway crossings along Alligator Alley (I-75), bordering the Florida Panther NWR, in the early 1990’s.  Immediately south of the Refuge a two-year, large-scale remote camera monitoring project was completed in 2007 in the Picayune State Forest.  It determined the extent of Florida panther and its primary prey base using relative abundance indices within the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) area and established a pre-construction benchmark to evaluate restoration impacts on panthers and their prey.  In 2011 a long-term monitoring program was begun on the Florida Panther NWR using 61 infrared remote cameras established approximately every square kilometer to measure population demographics of Florida panther and their primary prey in order to fully evaluate ecosystem restoration and adaptive management actions on the Refuge.  Results will be used to guide further monitoring of future restoration and management on the Refuge and among habitats needing or undergoing similar restorations off the Refuge.

  • Orchid Conservation and Research

    Ghost Orchid - LWR - promo list

    Through investigations on orchid plant ecology, biology, propagation, pollination biology, and genetics, this conservation research partnership has begun to establish effective and efficient means of orchid conservation using the orchid flora of the FPNWR as model systems. These model systems should be applied to orchid species and populations well beyond the borders of the FPNWR and southwest Florida.

    Click here to learn more about this landmark research.   

  • Research Needs

    Science - research needs - promo list

    Research on refuges is essential for increasing our knowledge of natural resources which we are charged to conserve, preserve and restore.  Through research we increase our understanding of habitats, ecosystems, and animal and plant ecology.  Our findings lead us to improve our stewardship practices and be responsive to changing environmental conditions such as invading exotic plants and animals, and climate change.  Research has revealed the role a functioning ecosystems plays in maintaining everyday human needs.  We have found that “ecosystem services,” the amenities that a healthy ecosystem produces, provide us with better air quality, safe drinking water, sustained hunting and fishing opportunities, and great places to enjoy the outdoors.  Furthermore, research projects most often develop in response to social pressures that can alter the landscape which may result in direct or indirect adverse impacts to ecosystem components such as the Florida panther population or natural water flows.  For all these reasons and more, research must serve our needs as well as the needs of the land we manage; and must be done objectively and governed by principles and processes that result in valid conclusions that are continually confirmed and supported over time for future generations.

    Click here for a list of research ideas that will assist the refuge with critical management questions. 

Page Photo Credits — Florida black bear, field research - Larry W. Richardson/USFWS, 2 Florida panthers - USFWS, Ghost orchid - © Larry W. Richardson
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2013
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