Rare Florida Forest, Home to 20 Protected Species, To Be Bulldozed for Walmart Development

140 acres of a unique type of coastal forest found only in Miami is about to be cleared for a Walmart-centered shopping development

Miami’s pine rockland forest is the only forest of its kind in the world, home to more than 20 protected species of plants and animals that don’t exist anywhere else.

Once the forest covered much of the 55-mile-long rock ridge that stretches from Miami to Homestead. Paved over by development, only 2% of the original area has survived in fragmented patches.

A new 138-acre development with Walmart at its center — along with an LA Fitness and 900 apartments — will further endanger the remnant of forest.

The ancient pine rockland forest grows on an old seabed of limestone, where fires started by lightening regularly clear the underbrush creating a unique environment for species that have adapted to and evolved with it.

It is the solitary home of the iridescent Miami Tiger Beetle (the namesake of the city), once thought to be extinct, along with endangered butterflies such as the bright orange Florida Leafwing and the gray Bartram’s Hairstreak, whose wings have thin white and black lines with tiny splashes of rust.

Bald eagles soar overhead alongside the Florida bonneted bat, which is one of the rarest mammals in the world.
A 2015 study found 55 plant species in the forest, including the medicinal herb Deltoid Spurge, which exists only there.

Environmental groups — including Center for Biological Diversity, Tropical Audubon Society, Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition and South Florida Wildlands Association — sued the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service who approved the development in 2017.

On June 10th a Miami-Dade circuit judge dismissed the case and construction has now begun.

“Developers are ignoring the fact that the precious Florida pine rocklands are part of a natural system that helps keep the air clean and the ground water fresh. Walmart can’t do that,” Health Nut News notes.