Hole-in-the-Donut (HID) Digital Collection
Among the most serious threats to the long-term health and sustainability of the greater Everglades ecosystem is the invasion of non-indigenous, or exotic, plant species which opportunisitically move in and thrive (often in response to disturbance) in the original natural environment. The persistence of these exotic pest plants and their penetration into surrounding natural communities significantly disrupt ecosystem function, and cause both visible and microbial-level changes to natural systems and processes.
The Hole-in-the-Donut (HID), a 4000-hectare region within Everglades National Park, Dade County, Florida, represents one of the most disturbed environments within the Everglades. The combined effects of anthropogenic (particularly mechanized agriculture) and natural disturbances have transformed this area, formerly composed predominantly of wet prairie, into a major site of exotic plant invasion characterized by altered soil conditions and vegetation dominated by Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) (Doren et al, 1990).
To prevent further invasion by exotic pest plants, and to create the best possible conditions for natural wetland revegetation of the area, Everglades National Park has now initiated the Hole-in-the-Donut Restoration Program, involving intensive and large-scale restoration, monitoring, research, and modelling activities. Oversight of the HID program is being handled by the National Park Service. The projects undertaken or overseen by Everglades National Park are expected to result in a high-quality restoration program for the Hole-in-the-Donut and lead to a comprehensive understanding of the scientific questions underlying the concept(s) of wetland restoration.
(1) Doren, Robert F., Louis Whiteaker, George Molnar, and David Sylvia, 1990. "Restoration of former wetlands within the Hole-in-the-Donut in Everglades National Park", Paper presented at the 17th Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation, Tampa, FL, May 10, 1990.