Stopped on a now uninhabited island in Southwest Florida

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While this is true it isn’t the whole story! Australian pines are nowhere near as bad as something like [melaleuca](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca).

Australian pines are certainly invasive in the wrong areas such as shallower estuaries, swamps, and marshes, but on the barrier islands that run both sides of the state in South Florida they can be very beneficial.

They save cities millions of dollars by reinforcing the sandbars and barrier islands to prevent the erosion of valuable beachfront property, they enable migrating birds safe places to roost and nest throughout the year and during important seasonal times, they produce a nice high canopy that greatly reduces damaging hurricane winds and storm surges, and they grace beaches with beautiful and wispy shade that makes the Sanibel region an especial delight.

I agree with their removal where they threaten the natural environment, but in the case of barrier islands the pines (which are not real pines, by the way) have actually been quite a boon and the state mandate of their removal was not a very wise decision.

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