Pine Rockland Exhibit
Did you know South Florida was once covered in pines? Our native pine, Pinus elliottii var. densa, once blanketed the east coast, mixing with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), coontie (Zamia integrifolia), and a stunning variety of wildflowers. Most pines grew on the Miami Rock Ridge. Primarily composed of oolitic limestone, this ridge varies in elevation from 4-12 feet. Less than 2% of the original Pine Rocklands remain, rendering this habitat globally endangered.
Fairchild’s pineland was planted in a historically low lying area of the Garden. To recreate the superior drainage and elevation needed by pines and their companion plants, a large quantity of rock and sand fill was used.
Fairchild is dedicated to saving the pine rockland ecosystem and its multitude of plants. The Connect to Protect Network was recently launched by Fairchild with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The network is designed to help preserve and strengthen our remaining pine rocklands, and to increase wherever possible the numbers of pine rockland plants growing in Miami-Dade County.
The Connect to Protect Network objective is to create corridors and “stepping stones” that connect isolated pine rockland remnants. These corridors, such as rights-of-way along freeways, or degraded or overgrown pine rockland parcels in agencies and institutions, will be planted with native pine rockland species. This will increase the probability that bees, butterflies and birds can find and transport seeds and pollen across developed areas that separate the fragmented pine rocklands remnants.
Create your own pine rockland in your backyard, or take a trip back in time by visiting Fairchild’s young pineland to see what much of South Florida once looked like.