The Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is North America's most endangered tree, with less than 1000 individuals left in the wild. Severely affected by a fungal pathogen and stressed by habitat changes, this population was already in a highly tenuous condition BEFORE taking a nearly DIRECT HIT from Hurricane Michael. The status of the population is now unknown, but in order to continue to allow for future maintenance and recovery efforts for this species into the future, immediate efforts are needed to assess the status of the population and take action to recover and rehabilitate all individuals giving them the best chances for survival through this catastrophic event.
These funds will be used by a team led by a joint effort between the University of Florida, the Florida Parks Service and Atlanta Botanical Garden to:
1. Use our existing inventory, maps and GPS data to survey the population of approximately 800 individuals (last surveyed 2012-2014). We will determine the condition of each individual and develop a recovery plan for each including what immediate action is needed including: removal of fallen trees, removal of hanging/broken overstory trees, implementation of treatments to address changes in overstory (mulching, shade structure etc.), pruning of broken stems, replacement of deer exclusions, replacement of permanent labels etc.
2. An independent contractor will be brought in to assist in the brush/fallen tree removals.
3. Using disease-free stock produced at ABG, new plantings will be established, taking advantage of the new forest disturbances to determine how these events affect recruitment and establishment and also to augment the existing population.
This work will be critical to recovery and maintenance of this emblematic species in the region. The region has been decimated by this natural disaster and there are many competing priorities with people who live there having their lives majorly disrupted. This project will bring in outside resources and allow for an important local resource to be saved for the future.