Non-native Species ManagementA non-native species can have the tendency to become invasive which causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Non-native species are harmful to our natural resources (fish, wildlife, plants and overall ecosystem health) because they disrupt natural communities and ecological processes. This causes harm to the native species because they are forced to compete for the same resources (food, water, shelter, etc.). Non-native species typically out compete native species for food and habitat due to the absence of their native predators. Even if the native species are not completely eliminated, the ecosystem often becomes much less diverse. A less diverse ecosystem is more susceptible to further disturbances from diseases and natural disasters. At Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge removing non-native plants and animals is a top priority in order to ensure the native inhabitants thrive.
Fire ManagementApproximately 200 acres of the Refuge are fire –dependent habitats. These habitats depend on periodic fire in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Prescribed fire is an important tool used for managing wildlife habitat that mimics natural processes. Our scrub habitat is very resilient to fire and historically have burned in 5 to 40 year intervals. The refuge staff and partners conduct prescribed burns to enhance a variety of habitats and to control invasive and exotic plants.
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Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea), an endangered species, regularly nest.