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Hurricanes and Plant Collections



Ridgeline sites along the Silver Bluff Escarpment in Miami-Dade County were recognized by both Colonel Montgomery and Dr. Fairchild as ideal for providing the best available climatic conditions and habitat variety for plant collections; Montgomery Botanical Center, The Kampong, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and Chapman Field are all sited on this ridge. In addition to excellent growing conditions, south Florida also sees occasional hurricanes.

Severe wind events present a challenge to plant collections. Through vigorous curatorial efforts, those events can also provide opportunities for research. Montgomery Botanical Center staff presented collections-based research at Botany 2006 that was informed by 2005's hurricane season.

A study published in July 2008 used these data to investigate variation in hurricane tolerance in New World palms.  

Below are links to pages showing some of the damage the collections sustained from the hurricanes that impacted Montgomery Botanical in 2005, including our cleanup and recovery efforts.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Wilma


Just prior to Hurricane Wilma's visit, Montgomery Botanical Center developed new emergency response protocols. Click below to view them.


MBC Plant Collections Hurricane Response Protocols


Ongoing research is looking at potential spatial relationships or patterns in the observed hurricane damage. In this map, the locations at MBC of the plant deaths that were caused by hurricanes are seen at a glance.  


GIS staff overlaid the locations on a LIDAR First-Return image to get an idea of the canopy coverage and open space around the various sites. These locations can then be cross-referenced by species, genus, origin, or many other factors when examining the impact of the storms in more detail.


Hurricane Map


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