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Environment

How Much Wildlife Does a 500-Year-Old Tree Support?

6-19-14_trees_M.jpg
Andrew West
/
The News-Press

Researchers are examining a half century-old bald cypress tree in Florida's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to determine how much wildlife the massive tree supports.

The News-Press reports that, so far, the members of the Ancient Giants of the Swamp expedition have recorded "28 plant, 16 insect/arachnid, two amphibian and one mammal species (a gray squirrel)" on just one tree in the Naples preserve.

The expedition is part of The Explorers Club, an international group that "promotes field research and the exploration of land, sea, air and outer space."

"These trees are 500 years old, so we're looking at a snapshot of a bygone era," Southwest Florida regional Explorers Club director Mike Knight told The News-Press. "This is a wetland of international significance. It's something that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. It's also a treasure of Southwest Florida: It belongs to all of us. We can say, 'Yeah, it's right here in my backyard.'"