Species Profile: Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) on Military Installations in the Southeastern United States.
ARMY ENGINEER WATERWAYS EXPERIMENT STATION VICKSBURG MS
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The gopher tortoise Gopherus polyphemus is the only tortoise that occurs east of the Mississippi River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has separated the species into two main populations. The western population southwest Mississippi and southeast Louisiana is Federally listed as threatened the eastern population, which occurs in southern Alabama and Georgia, extreme southwestern South Carolina, and most of Florida, is a former candidate for listing as threatened. Gopher tortoises occupy a wide range of open, upland habitats with a well-drained, deep sandy substrate, primarily longleaf pine-xerophytic oak woodlands sandhills. They have been documented on several military installations in the Southeast. This report is one of a series of Species Profiles being developed for threatened, endangered, and sensitive species inhabiting southeastern United States plant communities. The work is being conducted as part of the Department of Defense DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program SERDP. The report is designed to supplement information provided in plant community management reports for major United States plant communities found on military installations. Information provided on the gopher tortoise includes status, life history and ecology, habitat requirements, impacts and cause of decline, management and protection, and inventory and monitoring.
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