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Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are defined as the "benefits humans derive from ecosystem functioning." Florida’s conservation lands not only protect the state’s biodiversity but also provide its residents with vital ecosystem services. Coastal buffer lands protect near-shore nursery habitats critical to commercial fisheries and provide a natural barrier to hurricanes. The wetlands that adjoin freshwater rivers, lands, streams, and springs serve as pollution filters, helping preserve the water quality within these systems.  Natural uplands serve as recharge areas to the Floridan aquifer, our primary source of fresh drinking water.  Florida’s 15 million acres of forests contribute to clean air and, along with the Everglades, play a significant role in national carbon sequestration.

Florida is the first state that has passed legislation to address ecosystem services. Recent state-wide legislation requires managing agencies to report on the ecosystem services that their lands provide.

Learn more about ecosystem services in Florida:

IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program

Economic Impact Analysis Program at the University of Florida is housed in the Department of Food and Resource Economics and supported by a group of faculty with expertise in regional, marine, and natural resource economics. Activities focus on data collection and analytical studies designed to enhance the understanding of the role played by agricultural and natural resource based industries in the Florida economy.

Cooperative Conservation Blueprint

The Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in conjunction with the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, has developed a public-private partnership to develop and incentivize private land owners to engage in ecosystem services projects. CCB is based on the Critical Lands and Water Identification Project (CLIP), which is a scientific analysis of the entire state’s areas of ecological significance conducted by the GeoPlan Center at the University of Florida and Florida Natural Areas Inventory at Florida State University.

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