Urban Natural Areas Require Management
$1,000,000 invested now in scientifically supervised invasive plant removal would save rare species in Broward and halt the rapid degradation of diverse habitats1. Doubling the Broward County invasive removal annual budget2 would maintain the gains achieved. Increased investment for improved fencing, improved park education and interpretation, scientific research, and planned management could make Broward a model of urban natural conservation instead of a tragic example of local extinction.
Why Local Extinction is Critical Here
Broward’s subtropical and temperate flora and fauna evolved in diverse micro-habitats throughout the county leaving a rich and diverse natural legacy. Urban development in eastern Broward now covers 95% of natural land, yet remarkably most species and habitats still exist in a patchwork of fifty last remaining examples in preserves and parks. Each is now a small natural island in a sea of homes and businesses, isolated and highly endangered by invasive landscape plants. Seasonal growth invades and strangles large tracts killing rare indigenous species and rapidly degrading habitats.
Everyone Can Do Something to Help
As the second most populated county in Florida, Broward may be the first to experience such a rapid and widespread destruction of its urban natural areas. This silent crisis continues with almost no publicity, few public advocates, and little foundation, business, or community support. To preserve Broward’s last remaining natural areas the community must urge its governments and leaders to save last remaining habitats and the birds, butterflies, pollinators, wildlife, and native plants that still survive there. We have only years, not decades, to stop the invasion.
Note: 1Broward County Parks and the Institute of Regional Conservation are writing an unfunded plan for conservation of Broward’s urban natural areas. When complete, it will detail methods, priorities, and costs.2Current annual invasive funding is $250,000.