As described above, the early residents of Florida inherited a diversity of plant and habitat resources equal to any on the North American continent. The ambience that this mixture provided was an important if underappreciated element in attracting the enormous influx of people that settled in the state during this century. Ironically, accommodation of the new arrivals induced a very substantial reduction in the overall extent and quality of Florida's natural areas and in the native plant species they supported. The plant conservation community in Florida has come together in large part to halt and reverse the ongoing erosion in native plant diversity in the wild, at both the species and ecosystem levels.
The Florida plant conservation community is a heterogeneous and diffuse collection of teachers, environmental activists, native plant enthusiasts, scientists, media people, public land managers, legislators, planners, regulatory personnel, botanical garden staff, nursery managers, amateur gardeners, philanthropists, and members of the general public. However, the use of the term "community" overstates the level of integration of this set of individuals and organizations, since there is currently no formal structure or communications network connecting all of its elements.
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