The health of Florida’s economy and water resources and the quality of life will decline without mitigating and reversing climate change and protecting biodiversity through the maintenance, restoration and conservation of essential ecosystems.
Florida needs to acquire sufficient conservation land to ensure future generations’ ability to rely on sustainable ecosystem services, outdoor recreation lands and wildlife/landscape/ecotourism resources.
The Annual Assessment of Florida’s Water Resources and Conservation Lands developed by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research calculates that the anticipated cost to acquire all lands identified for conservation by the state to be $27.1 billion. At the average rate of annual state conservation land acquisition expenditures over the most recent five fiscal years, it would take nearly 370 years to produce the state’s share (86%).
We can and must act now!
Why is land conservation so important in Florida?
Left in their natural state, our lands keep an immense amount of climate pollution out of the atmosphere. If we hope to meet the greenhouse gas reductions necessary to stop the climate crisis, we need to keep our remaining undeveloped lands intact.
The best way to protect our rivers, lakes, and bays from nutrient pollution and toxic algae blooms is to perpetually protect the lands around them.
Forests and wetlands are very effective at moderating the influences of pollution and naturally clean pollutants from water.
Studies show that spending to protect forests, wetlands and aquifer recharge areas saves money over time as the need for costly water treatment infrastructure is avoided.
Florida loses an equivalent of 10 acres of natural and working lands every hour to development, and with them, the invaluable natural goods and services they provide.
- Land conservation is an investment in the future as it steers growth away from sensitive water resources while providing recreational opportunities.
Florida’s $65 billion annual tourism industry is inextricably linked to our state’s natural resources.
There are numerous other economic benefits of Florida’s history of land conservation, including agriculture, ranching, forestry and recreation.