Monday, February 25, 2008

Freshwater Wetlands

Today we spent some time learning about the importance of our freshwater wetlands. Not long ago, wetlands were considered wasted space by humans. You can't grow useful crops in a wetland and they tend to be infested with insects. As a result, many, many wetlands have been drained in order to build residential or commercial spaces. Whenever they do this they displace the organisms that use that space, many of which are extremely useful to that local ecosystem. Nowadays, developers are expected to construct human-made wetlands in place of the original. But is this enough and how effective are these reconstructions?

Around 90 years ago, a scientist from the United States Department of Forestry received a packet of seeds from a friend in Australia. The seeds were from the melaleuca tree. The scientist scattered the seeds throughout the Florida Everglades, hoping they would soak up the "mucky wasteland."
Research the impact of the melaleuca tree on the Florida Everglades.


Mike said...

Melaleuca is an invasive exotic tree. It came to south florida in the late 1800s. It is a stabilizer for soil in areas that are swampy close to canals and lakes. It took place of animals and it took water from wetlands. It is one of the worst enemies to the marshy part of Southern Florida. These trees take up more than fourteen to fifteen acres a day. Melaleucas leaves have a lot of oil which creates forest fires in the dry season. People are now trying to stop these Melaleuca trees from harming the earth.

I used this source:

nick said...

The Melaluca tree was introduced into the Florida everglades to soak up the water. It worked as planned and then some it now cover hundreds of thousands of acres of Florida. The problem is it doesn’t lenitive species grow and the animals don’t have the swamps to live in. The melalcua tree is about eighty feet tall and has white spongy bark. It’s used and tea and is snorted to cure colds. And was used to cure wounds.

D.J. said...

Melaleuca tree impacting

• In my opinion I think that it was another mistake that mankind made to put in melaleuca trees in Florida. They didn’t realize it was an invasive species. The other studies show that melaleuca infestations have rose 50-fold over the past 25 years. Heavily infested sites may contain more than 31,000 trees and sapling per acre which is a lot. Melaleuca can be found in pine flat woods, hardwood bottomlands, cypress forests, freshwater marshes, saw grass prairies, and mangrove communities--as well as improved pasture, natural rangeland, idle farmland, urban, and other areas. And the worst of it is the price to keep the trees under control. It cost more than $2.2 million annually. If these invasive species transplants continue these are the consequences. Displacement of native species.
• Reduction in wildlife habitat value.
• Alteration in hydrology.
• Modification of soil resources.
• Changes in fire regimes

jiggles said...

Melaleuca is an invasive tree. When it was planted the people had good intentions. They wanted to get these big trees to soak up water so that the wetlands would go away. But because they did not know it was invasive it grew to great amounts. this was a great problem because these trees can grow up to 80 feet tall and now it covers alot of land.

Kashi said...

The melaleuca is an invasive species that threatens the Florida Everglades. It sucks up so much water that it can drain a swamp. People once used this tree to drain wetlands so they could build houses. Now, it is spreading at an almost uncontrollable rate. We should cut down these trees to make paper and get wood instead of taking trees from the rainforest.

Laura said...

The melaleuca, also known as the paperbark, is an invasive species of tree that is a major ecological threat to the Florida Everglades. It’s originally from the Australian region, where it is know ironically endangered. Here, however, it can survive almost any condition, even fire. These trees quickly multiply by releasing a large amount of seeds annually. Consequently, they quickly multiply and spread, soaking up water and resources in an area. This in turn kills other organisms and brings down biodiversity. This lethal plant also affects humans, since its pollen is apparently an allergen. Melaleuca forests also grow very thickly making the area impenetrable. Source:

chaz said...

Melaleuca is an invasive species plant that covers a large area of the Florida Everglades (about 450,000 acres). It spreads out as it grows taking at least 15 acres of land each day. Each year, it costs about $168,000,000.00 per year in order to preserve the environment. Melaleuca is a magnet to forest fires that destroy both natural, and civilized areas in Southern Florida.

My sources were the following:

callieangelbuffy said...

Melaleuca, or paperbark, is endangered in Australia where it originally came from but is an ecological threat to Florida's evergreens. It spreads quickly and deadly because it releases a very large amount of seeds per year. It displaces native plants and animals, sucks up water from the wetlands, and creates a fire hazard. It's pollen is also an allergen to humans.

I'm to lazy to put the source but it's the same as Laura's source so just look at hers.

Kaldraga said...

The Florida Everglades are located far south within the State of Florida. This area is a “subtropical marshland”. That means winter time in this area is pretty warm and the summers are a little bit hotter. In this climate, snow doesn’t accumulate very well. The Everglades was turned into a National Park in the 1930’s to protect from being used for housing developments.
Before the area was turned into a National Park, planes flew over and sprinkled over the Everglades with a tree seed called the “Melaleuca” tree. This is a “thirsty” tree as many people call it; the tree is able to soak mass amounts of water. If many of these seeds have grown, the Everglades would have been dried up and use for development. To this day, the Melaeuca tree is problem for the National park. Also, the oils within the trees are very flammable. This can increase the cause of wildfires. The tree isn’t easy to get rid of for the tree can drop a lot of seeds at one time. This tree grows in huge bunches so it makes it hard to cut down. It can also survive many weather conditions and it also survie a fire. To all Marshlands, this tree is a big problem.


Jory! said...

The Melaleuca tree is a tree that was taken to Florida all the way from the continent of Australia. The reason why it was taken to Florida was to stabilize the soil in swamps and marshes. A big effect it had on the everglades is that is caused forest fires. These fires were created because of the oil inside the melaleuca leaves. Several acres of land and even some homes were sadly destroyed costing millions of dollars in damage. Swamps are extremely threatened by melaleuca trees because of how it rapidly absorbs groundwater. It all gets worse because now some organisms do not have the swamp that they lived in and adapted to. Lastly, it is in invasive tree, so it overtakes other plants and trees


maximus said...

Melaleuca quinquenervia is an invasive tree and is one of the Everglades worst enemies. It causes almost one hundred million dollars of environmental losses every year and takes over 14 to 15 acres a day.The Melaleuca invades areas where the soil has been disturbed, and already existing ecosystem in South Florida, except for the saline zone. Melaleuca is regulated by the state of Florida and the federal government as a noxious weed. many people in Florida are trying to kill the Melaleuca quinquenervia and are having some sucses

Redrum said...

Melaleuca quinquenervia is an invasive species from Austrailia, it currently inhabits 450,000 acres of southern Florida. It was planted in the early 1900s with hopes of it helping the enviorment, but it has proven to do the oppisite.

Eli said...

The Melaleuca tree is an invasive species that took over the swamps after they were imported from Australia. This is tragic, especially because they take up 15 acres a day. A lot of environmental groups are trying to stop these Melaleuca trees from taking over the other trees.

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