Important Bird Areas

Green Swamp Ecosystem

Florida

Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, 49218 ha
Lake Louisa State Park, 1800 ha
Little Gator Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area, 229 ha
Richloam Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest, 19911 ha
Green Swamp CARL-FF Project, 47563 ha, including Hilochee Wildlife Management Area, 1521 ha

In southeastern Hernando County, southern Lake and Sumter counties, northern Polk County, and eastern Pasco County, bordered by State Road 50 to the north, U.S. Highway 27 to the east, south of Interstate 4 to the south, and the Withlacoochee River to the west. The Green Swamp consists of several publicly-owned parcels within a large sparsely-developed region in central Florida. Near part of the Withlacoochee State Forest IBA to the west.

In southeastern Hernando County, southern Lake and Sumter counties, northern Polk County, and eastern Pasco County, bordered by State Road 50 to the north, U.S. Highway 27 to the east, south of Interstate 4 to the south, and the Withlacoochee River to the west. The Green Swamp consists of several publicly-owned parcels within a large sparsely-developed region in central Florida. Near part of the Withlacoochee State Forest IBA to the west.

In 1974, most of the Green Swamp was designated an Area of Critical State Concern because of its aquifer recharge abilities and relatively undisturbed natural systems. ? The lumbering ?ghost town? of Cumpressco is within the Wilderness Preserve; several buildings were moved to the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City. ? The Little Withlacoochee River has been designated as an Outstanding Florida Water. ? Part of this IBA has been designated by +Cox et al. (1994) as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area.

Ornithological Summary

Significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and FCREPA species; and significant natural habitats

The Green Swamp supports significant populations of wading birds and raptors, and probably supports significant populations of more species than the limited data presented below suggest. Overall diversity is 111 native species, which undoubtedly is a considerable underestimate for the IBA

Conservation Issues

*development, *exotic plants, *feral hogs, human disturbance

Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve: Flatwoods are prescribed-burned, and overgrown xeric oak scrub is mechanically treated and prescribed-burned. Nearly 13,000 acres were burned in 1998. ? Some buildings (e.g., a sawmill) of previous land owners were removed in 1994, and the sites replanted with native species. Monitoring of these restoration areas continues. Selected pastures and citrus groves have been restored to longleaf pine sandhills. Other pastures have been converted to slash pine and longleaf pine plantations to produce future revenue (a recent governmental mandate of Water Management District properties). ? Exotic plants such as skunkvine and tropical soda apple are controlled with herbicides. ? Feral hogs are removed by hunting. ? Huge portions of the Green Swamp remain privately owned, and are under threat of development or timbering. Lake Louisa State Park: Flatwoods are prescribed-burned. Former citrus groves are being replanted with longleaf pine, and portions are direct-seeded with typical sandhill groundcover species. ? Feral hogs and exotic plants???citrus (Citrus spp.), ?rosary pea (Abrus precatorius), ?lantana (Lantana camara), and cogongrass??are removed. ? Rapid development north, east, and south of the Park threaten to destroy the few remaining patches of native upland vegetation that could serve as plant donor sites. Additional water withdrawals threaten the Clermont Chain of Lakes, which originates in the State Park.

Habitat

*pine flatwoods, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, *riverine, pine plantation, sandhills, temperate hammocks, xeric oak scrub, fields, non-native pasture, bayhead, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, lacustrine, artificial

Land Use

*conservation, *hunting, recreation, timber production, cattle grazing