Forgotten Grasslands of the South

This project, which began in 2008, produced a book authored by Reed Noss, Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (Island Press, 2013). Island Press describes the book on their website: “Forgotten Grasslands of the South is a literary and scientific case study of some of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. Eminent ecologist Reed Noss tells the story of how southern grasslands arose and persisted over time and addresses questions that are fundamental for conserving these vital yet poorly understood ecosystems…” 

Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise in Florida

Even a 1-meter rise in sea level, a conservative estimate for the year 2100, could be devastating to the human population and to nature in Florida. FICS initiated a project to study and communicate issues related to the impacts of, and adaptation to, sea-level rise in Florida. The first phase of this project included a scientific symposium, which was held January 18-20, 2010, at Archbold Biological Station. This meeting brought together scholars from several disciplines to share information on sea-level rise and its consequences impacts in Florida and to develop recommendations for further research and for changes in policy and management. A special issue of the journal Climatic Change, guest-edited by Reed Noss, includes selected papers from the Archbold symposium plus some new papers. The special issue was published in July 2011.

Fire Ecology and the Importance of Disturbance to Biodiversity

A new book by Reed Noss, Fire Ecology of Florida and the Southeastern Coastal Plain, is scheduled for publication in late 2017 or early 2018 by University Press of Florida. This is, somewhat surprisingly, the first book on the fire ecology of this exceptionally fire-prone region, and the first book-length treatment of the new discipline of evolutionary fire ecology. A broader book, tentatively titled Disturbed Nature: Disturbance Regimes and Biodiversity in North America, is in progress and will be published by Island Press. This book will be a scholarly, readable, and reasonably thorough review of the ecology of natural disturbance that is accessible to the general educated reader and useful for university students, practicing ecologists, and managers. It is intended to provide the synthesis of knowledge necessary for the development of conservation, restoration, and management strategies and policies that promote the positive influences of disturbance in generating and maintaining biodiversity, while mitigating the negative impacts of disturbance regimes altered by human activities.

Future Projects

FICS continues to submit proposals for projects that fall within its mission of bringing together expert natural and social scientists from diverse sources to address urgent issues in conservation. Examples of questions we seek to address include:

What are the highest priority sites to conserve in Florida and elsewhere from a biological-ecological perspective? What is the most defensible design of a network of sites (e.g., size, connectivity, etc.) to conserve biodiversity in perpetuity? In particular, how should Florida’s network of existing and proposed conservation areas be modified to address the reality of rapid climate change and sea level rise?

How can transportation planning (e.g., FDOT’s “corridors”) be fully reconciled and coordinated with conservation planning?

How can Florida’s Rural Land Stewardship Program (RLSP) be improved to provide maximal and strategic protection to biodiversity and maintenance of ecological and evolutionary processes? How well have existing RLSPs met conservation objectives?

How can county comprehensive plans be improved and implemented effectively to achieve conservation objectives within counties and, collectively, across counties?


Photo credits: Dr. Reed Noss except for the Fox Squirrel: Danielle Munim. FICS logo by Susan Trammell
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