Since 1947, the Brooksville Plant Materials Center has provided new conservation plant releases and technology for Florida, the Caribbean Area and coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Plant communities are varied and complex. Rainfall varies from 30 inches per year in parts of the service area to more than 200 inches. Soil textures are predominately sandy and well drained, but large areas of clay and poorly drained soils are common. Elevations vary from sea level to a few hundred feet in Florida to more than 4,000 feet in Puerto Rico. The climate ranges from warm and humid in northern Florida to tropical in the Caribbean. Major land uses include row crop production, rangelands, orchards, forest land, recreation and urban land. Major problem areas include water pollution, cropland erosion, coastal areas that include sand dunes and marshes, and manmade disturbed sites.
Conservation Plant Releases: The Center has released over 20 improved conservation plants including varieties of beach sunflower, lupine, bitter panicum and eastern gamagrass.
Technology - The Brooksville Plant Materials Center develops new applied technologies through on-the-ground demonstration plantings and partnerships with public and private land users and agencies.
Coastal Area Improvements - The five Gulf Coast states, Georgia and Puerto Rico share 1,500 miles of coastal beach and dunes and more than 2 million acres of coastal wetland.
Wildlife Habitats - The Conservation Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program encourage using native grasses, legumes, forbes and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. The Brooksville Plant Materials Center develops locally adapted native plants for wildlife restoration and enhancement programs.
Erosion Control - Vegetation cover, intensity of rainfall, winds, topography and land use management subject Florida and the Caribbean to soil erosion. Gully erosion associated with cropland and critical areas not only impacts agricultural productivity, but also increases turbidity, siltation and sedimentation of coastal water. Although much work in this area has already been accomplished, there is a need to further identify plant materials and determine establishment techniques.