Invasive Trees and Wildlife

Brazilian Pepper Trees are an exotic invasive in Florida. They grow incredibly fast and displace the native trees, in this case, the mangroves. The area behind our fence is a creek border of about two feet and a tidal creek bed and creek, none of which we own. For many years we did our best to control the invasion of these trees from our side, but every year it required extensive work and the grove on the other side grew thicker. This year the owner of the area surrounding the creek took action and the trees were cleared.

As much as we wanted the trees gone, the decision for us was mixed. The trees provided habitat for wildlife and privacy for us. Several neighbors had cleared them out earlier in the season, and this year the Gray Catbirds and flocks of migrating warblers did not come. We realized their habitat had already changed too much, so felt a little better about our part in the necessary change. The area is clear now behind the fence, but about 15 feet behind the it is a grove of native black mangrove trees which will eventually take over the area again.

We discovered that wildlife still flourished there, though a few individuals became temporarily displaced during the work. This frog, who we believe is a Southern Leopard Frog, managed to get into the pool area for a swim. We netted him out, and put him near the fence where he hopped toward the creek.

A couple of mangrove crabs took refuge on a tree in our yard. Shortly after I took this photo they too headed back home.

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