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Ghost Canyon

'Nature: Wild Florida'
(DVD / PG / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: Florida is known for its beaches but also has a wild side. Here, manatees swim in crystal-clear rivers and baby alligators practice their hunting skills.

But every year, Florida faces the full forces of nature with hurricanes. Now, climate change, a growing human population and abandoned exotic pets also are threatening this wild paradise.

Can Florida's ecosystems continue to weather the storm?

DVD Verdict: Off the bat, we should all know that Florida have a high diversity of ecosystems. A unique combination of geological history, climate, geography, and environmental forces has made the South Florida Ecosystem an important reservoir of landscape, community, and species diversity.

For those not in the know, an ecosystem is a community of plants and animals that live together. South Florida is home to many different ecosystems including coral reefs, dunes, marshes, swamps, hardwood hammocks, mangroves, pinelands and scrubs.

Of course, Florida is well-known for its beaches, blue water and year-round sun, but it also has a surprising wild side. It is home to pine forests, coral reefs and the famous Everglades wetland, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.

Here, manatees swim in crystal-clear rivers, baby alligators practice their hunting skills and miniature deer roam free. Every year, this state faces the full forces of nature: from wildfires to flooding to powerful hurricanes.

Now, a growing human population, climate change and abandoned exotic pets – like the Burmese python which can eat alligators – are added threats to this wild paradise.

This new documentary from PBS tells the story about how Florida’s ecosystems continue to weather the storms with the help of pioneering scientists and ongoing conservation efforts.

One of the stand out parts of these hour long documentary is when they discuss Florida's Panhandle and, more precisely, What makes the Apalachicola River region so unique?

We're informed that The Apalachicola River region is one of five biodiversity hotspots in North America. What this means is not only are there large number of species here, but also that many of these plants and animals occur no where else on the planet.

For example, there are areas within the longleaf forest where you can find up to 50 different species of plants in one square meter!

The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve protects and supports biodiversity and longleaf forest in this spectacular region.

Another section is when we learn about the wildlife in the longleaf pine forest and where the application of prescribed fire reduces dangerous forest fuel accumulations and recycles precious nutrients that are locked up within those downed branches and thick undergrowth.

Deer, turkey, quail as well as all of their rare species such as red-cockaded woodpecker, eastern indigo snake and frosted flatwoods salamander depend on fire to keep the forest open and to again, make the forest’s “vitamins” available to the next generation.

Learn more about these, and other fascinating facts about 'Wild Florida' that you perhaps didn't know, in this brand new documentary from PBS! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.