Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory
DECLINE OF SCRUB HABITATS
Courtesy of T. Robinson, and L. Smith, Brevard County Parks
and Recreation Department, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. Used with permission. For more information
on this study, visit:
Populations of the Florida scrub jay, the state's only endemic bird, have been in decline since the 1950s, principally due to loss of the mainland scrub communities which are its primary habitat. The Robinson and Smith study (1996) examined the relationship between increases in human population in Brevard County, Florida with respect to declines in both the number of breeding pairs of threatened Florida scrub jays, and the number of acres available to scrub jays as habitat. Note that as human population (yellow line) increased between 1940 and 1990, the number of acres of available scrub habitat (blue line), and the number of breeding scrub jay pairs (pink line) decreased. Between 1940 and 1990, the human population of Brevard County increased by over 2700%. Scrub habitat was reduced by approximately 70%, as scrub communities were converted into agricultural, commercial and residential properties. Coinciding with this loss of habitat, the number of breeding pairs of scrub jays declined by 87%. Following development of natural scrub communities, what remained of scrub jay habitat was poor in quality, and highly fragmented. This trend, which has been mirrored statewide, remains a threat; not only to the scrub jay, but also to the many other species that rely on scrub habitats for their survival.
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Chambliss K., D.D. Hott, and M.H. Slotkin. 1998. Public Goods, Biodiversity, and Municipal Land Acquisstion: Reflections of the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program in Brevard County, Florida. Presented at 23rd Annual Conference Association of Private Enterprise Education, Dallas, Texas 11 pp.
Swain, H., P. A. Schamlzer, D. R. Breininger, K. Root, S. Boyle, S. Bergen, S. MacCaffree. 1995. Appendix B Biological Consultant's Report. Brevard County Scrub Conservation and Development Plan. Dept. Bio. Sci., Florida Institute of Technology., Melbourne, FL.
Report by: K. Hill, Smithsonian Marine Station
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