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.


Broward 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.
Current annual invasive funding is $250,000.

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Friends of Natural Areas is a workgroup of the Parks Foundation of Broward. Friends came together in 2016 to save the natural areas of Broward. Broward County Parks and the Institute for Regional Conservation are currently co-authoring a comprehensive plan to protect and restore natural areas on local public lands. Broward County Parks has nine staff and contracts for invasive plant removal, but this current effort cannot keep pace with the rate of invasive landscape plant growth. Widespread degradation of our natural habitats is happening now and threatening local extinction of rare species. A comprehensive conservation plan will establish priorities, recommend methods, and estimate costs. But this plan will have no funding. That’s why we urge you and the Broward community to unite in asking our governments and community leaders to support a broad-based effort to fund invasive removal save these fifty last remaining special places for nature in Broward.

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Call us at 954-661-6289 or complete the email form below to donate or help.

Contributions are tax-deductible under IRS provision 501(c)(3) of The Parks Foundation of Broward County, fiscal sponsor for the Friends of Natural Areas.

Contact: Richard Brownscombe, Chair of Friends of Natural Areas in Broward, Richard@Brownscombe.net 954-661-6289 (also President, Broward Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society)

Linda Briggs-Thompson, Environmental Program Manager, Broward County Parks
Kristine Stewart, ethnobotanist, African plant specialist, Broward College professor
Brigitte Silver, attorney
Cheryl Devlin, Master Naturalist, nature photographer
Anthony Thompson, Natural Area Environmental Maintenance Supervisor, Cert. Arborist
Paul Arena, Nova Southeastern University professor
Pat Howell, Natural Area Specialist, Broward County
Erik Eckles, Natural Resource Specialist, Broward County Parks
Eileen Pokorny, Scientific Technician
Theresa Alderman, Florida Master Naturalist, Zoologist (retired)