PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
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 its Importance to Biodiversity
The most recent book by Reed Noss, Fire Ecology of Florida and the Southeastern Coastal Plain, was published in Spring 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. This book is being widely read by fire ecologists and fire managers, as well as others interested in the natural history and ecology of the southeastern U.S.
Endangered Ecosystems of North America: A Conservation Strategy for the Nearctic Realm
This latest book project by Reed Noss includes a multimedia component (website, film, course curricula, etc.). Writing has been initiated while FICS seeks funding to enable the completion of this project. This book and accompanying material explore the glorious but endangered ecosystems of the Nearctic Realm (northern Mexico, United States, Canada, Greenland) as well as two neotropical ecoregions of southern Florida (Everglades Flooded Grasslands and the Bahamian-Antillean Mangroves). In addition, it offers a thorough description of ecoregional conservation and its many advantages over species-by-species approaches.
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?