The FCE-LTER project was expanded in Phase II to include study of human dimensions.
Researchers want to know what social and economic processes drive land use change in
areas adjacent to the coastal Everglades and how these changes affect the quantity
and quality of water flowing along the projectís Taylor Slough and Shark River Slough
transects. Researchers are using information about past and present land use to
develop conceptual models of the social process of land use change as well as
predictive models of future land use change and associated societal-ecological interactions.
For example, agricultural lands historically served as buffers between the Everglades
and the urban environment. Today, however, these agricultural lands are at risk of
being transformed into urban lands. In order to understand the social processes
driving this change, researchers are conducting qualitative and quantitative studies
to examine zoning characteristics, housing, real estate, and labor markets, as well
as the economic, social and policy dynamics of regional farming practices.
How do these factors affect people in south Florida?
Land use change in not necessarily an equitable process.
For instance, urban renewal projects may benefit those who own property in formally
blighted areas, while related rent increases may force vulnerable populations
to be priced out of their homes. In addition, land use change often brings dramatic
changes in patterns of production (jobs and the way food is produced),
consumption (how food, services, and products are acquired), and access to
Strawberry field between an urban area and the Everglades