The Florida Everglades is the largest subtropical habitat in North America and an ecosystem within itself. The Everglades has been a habitat for many different species of birds, animals, and plant life of all types. However, it is slowly diminishing as the result of many modifications that have been made to the wilderness as the result of population growth in the southern Florida area.
We Are Killing the Everglades
The ecosystem in the Everglades relies on clean water to keep the habitat replenished and free of pollutants. However, the Everglades has been exposed to modifications in the water flow for human consumption and flood control, an alternative fuel site, water pollutants, promises by the government in the state of Florida that never transpired, the invasion of Burmese pythons that were released into the Everglades by their owners, population increase, commercial development, and many other factors that endangered the natural functioning of the Everglades.
The Everglades was placed on the UNESCO endangered list in 1993 until the year 2000 when the 14 million dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project began which provided necessary changes in the ecosystem. As a result of the project, the Bush administration made a request to remove the Everglades from the UNESCO endangered list in 2007 despite the fact that the dangers were still present. Since that time, the Everglades have been placed back on the endangered list as of July of last year.
Biodiversity Level of the Everglades
The biodiversity level of the Everglades is currently quite low due to the reduced level of nutrients that are introduced to the ecosystem mostly from rain water. There is also low biodiversity in some of the fish species and reptiles such as the endangered American crocodile. The biodiversity level is low which makes the Everglades vulnerable to nutrient pollution that originates from the runoff of phosphorous from the agriculture area in the northern part of the Everglades. This area was drained for the purpose of agricultural expansion.
Why the Everglades is Important to Southern Florida
The loss of habitat in the Everglades has caused the Everglades flora and fauna to become endangered including plant life, Florida alligators, and a number of bird and animal species. The loss of habitat has had a negative impact on the southern peninsula of Florida which relies on tourism for a high percentage of revenue. Additionally, the population increase which has drained a significant portion of the Everglades and introduced non-native species to the area has also had a negative impact on the southern Florida economy.
Although flood control and other factors that have had a negative impact have been diminished, the ecosystem of the Everglades has combined with the ecosystem of the southern Florida region which causes a negative impact on a much larger scale. As a result of the impact, billions of gallons of water on a daily basis is lost into the ocean which causes the population of fish species to decline and the coral reefs to destruct due to the excessive amount of nutrients in the water.