Nature provides us with many beneficial services. Some support our physical needs, like: food production, drinking water, climate regulation, crop pollination, and medicine. Other services support our cultural needs, inspiring our art, spirituality, and identity. Recognition of these ecosystem services is supporting conservation in Florida.
Ranchland Water Solutions
Florida cattle ranches support a unique culture and provide food, wildlife habitat, and help with some of Florida’s water management problems. A project called the Northern Everglades Payment for Environmental Services (NE-PES) pays ranchers to hold and slow water as it moves through their land on its way to Lake Okeechobee and then to the coasts and the Everglades. This helps cleans the water and manage the water levels in the lake. Ranchland takes up one-third of the land in the headwaters of the Everglades, making these partnerships incredibly valuable. NE-PES is one of the tools used by the South Florida Water Management District.
Steffan Pierre is a researcher for Archbold Biological Station and he maintains the NE-PES monitoring stations across the participating ranches.
Art for conservation
Mollie Doctrow is an art professor, curator, and printmaker. She uses her skills to bring awareness to Florida's ecosystems. Mollie led a successful movement that created a Florida scrub preserve at the South Florida State College and started the college's annual Wildflower Festival.