Forest Enhancement process will be based on the outcome of the Assessment tools to ensure that positive attributes of the forest health will be continued and expanded and negative impacts and stresses will be eliminated or reduced.
Landscape Level Forest Enhancement
Enhancement of the Landscape Level forest will generally be phased in as regularly scheduled maintenance is performed. This may include the following activities which have links to recommended guidelines for each activity:
Pruning of tree limbs on a regularly scheduled basis will improve tree health, control growth, and enhance fruiting, flowering, and overall appearance. Topping a large tree causes excessive sprouting of weakly attached new branches, and increases wind resistance by creating denser branching patterns. Excessive lifting causes trees to become top-heavy. Both of these methods of pruning increase the chances of wind damage in the long run and are not approved methods.
The Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance regulating the tree trimming industry. This action was taken as a result of concerns about the quality of tree trimming practiced in Broward County, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. All businesses or governmental agencies that perform tree trimming in Broward County are required to obtain a Broward County Tree Trimmer License.
Proper pruning of trees should be in compliance with the following guidelines:
While trees in good health benefit the community, trees that have been incorrectly pruned, poorly maintained, or excessively stressed can become Hazard Trees. The International Society of Arboriculture guide to Recognizing Tree Hazards helps to identify potentially dangerous situations that should be addressed immediately.
Enhancing the urban forest will include increasing our canopy coverage through installation of new trees - to comply with landscape requirements or to replace hazard trees. Selection of the right trees, growth to certain standards, and properly installed will all help to ensure the health of our canopy for years to come.
Natural Area Forest Enhancement
Enhancement of the Natural Areas will generally be completed as grant funding or staff resources become available. In addition to the resources above, Natural Area Enhancement may include the following activities which have links to recommended resources for each activity:
Invasive Exotic Plant Removal
Exotic pest plants are plants that were intentionally or inadvertently introduced to the South Florida region and have become naturalized within natural area, vacant lots and road rights-of-way. These “plants out of place” generally grow in poor soil and drought conditions and outcompete the native plants that are stressed by the changing conditions. Left unchecked, many exotic pest plants can create a monoculture that reduces habitat diversity and wildlife habitat, compromising our native plant communities.
The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council is a non-profit organization (not a regulatory agency) created to support the management of invasive exotic plants in Florida's natural areas by providing a forum for the exchange of scientific, educational, and technical information. Many value resources are available on their website to combat the spread of invasive exotic plants.
Ecological Restoration of Native Habitats
Once the exotic plants have been removed, it is imperative that native trees, shrubs and understory plants, consistent with the native plant community, be installed and maintained to make sure the exotics do not return. A diversity of these species should be planted reflective of a natural ecosystem once the site is free of exotics.
Natives For Your Neighborhood, a program of The Institute for Regional Conservation, provides detailed data on the habitats and plants found, specific to your home or project site, by entering the 5-digit zip code.
Many natural lands have also been altered by the drainage from canals that crisscross our region. When possible, efforts to direct pretreated stormwater runoff into the wetland communities is encouraged. Broward County used funds from the Integrated Water Resource Plan to design and construct water management infrastructure to rehydrate the wetland areas in an effort to maintain habitat function and vitality at Fern Forest, Prospect Road, Hillsboro Pinelands, and Tall Cypress/Turtle Run wetlands. Through the addition of pumps and water control structures, or simply but allowing gravity flow through pipes and vegetated swales, water is now available for improved wetland function. Since re-watering began, wetland species have returned and upland species have receded to the edges.