The Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area is an
archipelago of small sites stretching 80 miles from Key Largo
almost to Key West. These sites contain some of the best examples
of undisturbed tropical hardwood hammocks remaining in Florida.
Many of the tropical hardwood hammocks on the south Florida
mainland and in the Keys have been lost to development because they
occupy higher, drier land suitable for human habitation.
"Mechanized recreation already has seized nine-tenths of the woods
and mountains; a decent respect for minorities should dedicate the
other tenth to wilderness."
-Aldo Leopold, The Upshot, 1949
Tropical hardwood hammocks are the only tropical
hardwood forests in the continental United States and are
among the most imperiled natural communities in the world. This
area was acquired to protect and to restore native plants and
animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the continental
United States and some of which are found nowhere else in the
world. The hammocks are critical feeding and resting areas for
scores of migratory bird species on their way between the eastern
half of North America and Latin America and the Caribbean. The
tropical hardwood hammocks are also important resting and feeding
areas for the threatened white-crowned pigeon that nests on
isolated offshore mangrove islands but finds its source of food in
the hammocks. The berries of the poisonwood tree are a main food
for this rare bird. The hardwood hammocks on the keys are home to
the endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly, the exquisite Liguus
tree snail, and numerous other rare and interesting creatures.
View the Conceptual
for Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area.