Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research
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Human Dimensions Cross-Cutting Theme
(Phase II, 2007-2012)

Hypotheses and Proposed Work for FCE II (2006-2012)

General Question: What social and economic processes drive land use change in areas adjacent to FCE and how do these changes affect the quantity and quality of water flowing along FCE transects?

Approach - Historically, agricultural lands served as critical buffers between the urban/exurban development and FCE sites in ENP. However, these ecologically significant agricultural lands are now at risk of change to urban/exurban uses due to specific and historical land use trends and socioeconomic drivers (Harwell et al. 1996; Solecki 2001). In order to understand the social processes driving this change, we will conduct qualitative and quantitative studies examining zoning characteristics, housing, real estate, and labor markets, as well as the economic, social and policy dynamics of regional farming practices. Land use changes may alter ecological functioning at an ecosystem scale, but land use change decisions take place at much smaller scales –households, local zoning boards, etc. (Brody et al. 2003; Brody et al. 2004; Brody & Highfield 2005). We will use interviews, community meetings, and quantitative surveys with residents in the rural/agricultural buffer zones to investigate individual and community perceptions of land use change. Results of this socio-economic research will be linked to biophysical evidence (satellite imagery, aerial photography, monitoring data from FCE transects) to produce maps and models of historic and current land use change. We will relate these measures of land use change to historical changes in variables that bridge our human and natural systems, such as urban storm water runoff, groundwater sewage discharge, and fresh water flow. Our focus will be on adjacent urban-rural areas in western Miami-Dade County that have seen particularly dramatic land use changes in the last several decades, or that are predicted to show such changes in the near future. We will consider several classic land use change conceptual models (Agarwal et al. 2002 for discussion) to integrate qualitative and quantitative [raster and vector] data, and to model future land use change scenarios. This may lead to development of a hybrid FCE LTER land use model that best suits our data requirements and mapping needs.

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National Science Foundation logo This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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