There are two main areas of botanical research at the Levy Preserve. The first is part of the conservation horticulture program. The second is a long-term project studying the diversity and structure of the forest at the Preserve using Permanent Forest Plots.

Conservation Horticulture

Working in the Lath House and open-air Nursery, the Preserve team is working to develop seed germination protocols for native and endemic plant species. Developing protocols for seed germination is an important step in maintaining collections of rare and endangered species with a broad range of each species’ population genetics

Permanent Forest Plots (PFP)

The Preserve has set up three Permanent Forest Plots. Each plot is 400 m2 (20 x 20 metres). The plots were established between 2014 and 2016 and are resurveyed every year. PFP #1 is near the Weather Station, PFP #2 is near Ethan’s Tower and PFP #3 is located along the Economic Botany trail.

Within the plot, each tree (or limb of tree) that is 2.5 cm or greater in Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) (at 130 cm above ground) is identified, measured, and labelled with a numbered aluminium tag. From the data, a Relative Species Importance Value (RSIV) was calculated based on the Relative Density and Relative Basal Area for each species in each plot.

While the plots are located less than 250 metres apart, they differ in their dominant species other than having Coccoloba diversifolia which was above 10 % RSIV in all three plots. Additionally, all plots had Bursera simaruba, and Guapira obtusata as either a dominant or subdominant species. PFP #1 and PFP #3 are more similar to each other than PFP#2. PFP #2 has the highest number of species and individuals PFP #3 has the least.

Full PFP data sets are available upon request.

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