Ecological problems of the Everglades region

Hello LT, I just wanted to write you a note to share with you the disastrous situation in the Everglades over the past few decades. The Everglades region is broadly defined as a tropical wetland area located in the southern part of the state of Florida. It’s a complex system of interdependent ecosystems including cypress swamps, coastal and estuarine mangroves, Ten Thousand Islands, salt marshes, tropical hardwood hammocks, rocky areas covered with pines and the marine environment of Florida Bay. It’s the largest subtropical natural environment in the United States and the region has the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere, the largest continuous Tiger Nut grassland and the largest waterfowl nesting site in North America… and more!

Faced with the damage caused by developers and the agro-industrial sector for decades, Florida’s fragile nature is gradually regaining its rights. But today, it faces a new threat: sea-level rise, driven by climate change, which threatens Everglades National Park. Indeed, the Everglades have not really seen their water flow for about 70 years as human activities have gradually blocked the fresh water flowing from the gigantic Okeechobee Lake to southern Florida. Last year, smelly algae covered part of the coastline with bright green mud and swimmers were ordered to stay out of the water due to the presence of harmful bacteria, and about one-third of the original Everglades area – which occupied 1.2 million hectares – was transformed into agricultural areas and a 600,000 hectare national park was created.

On the other hand, the diversion of water from the Okeechobee River – which is also heavily polluted by agriculture – has increasingly serious consequences, particularly in the eastern and western parts of the state. In addition to all this, the 141 species of reptiles and amphibians, 250 species of fish, 498 species of birds, and 1,500 species of vertebrates may disappear as a result of global warming. And that’s only part of the problem! Indeed, animals that have been introduced into the Everglades like the python (a snake that is more than 5 meters long) are increasingly found in urban areas where they disrupt the daily lives of humans. This exodus of wild animals from their homes to the city disrupts public safety.

Pushed further and further by the expansion of urban space, some wild animals are now reinvesting the city centers. This urban migration is not without risks and requires a rethinking of

the coexistence between urban residents and wildlife. In addition to the risk of pest invasion, the proximity to certain animals also poses a health danger, especially in the event of a new outbreak of avian influenza. But above all, it poses security problems. Wildlife species are not as docile and harmless as rats and pigeons, as some dramatic news reports regularly point out: recently a python measuring more than 3 meters devoured a dog in front of its master!

As a result, the fight against global warming must not be the only initiative of governments and companies, but also of citizens. Simple daily actions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change and breathe new life into the Everglades.