The early environmental conditions in many national parks fit the favorable description given to Everglades National Park (ENP) at the time of its founding that the park’s wilderness and ecological resources were “superlative in value.” With the understanding that wilderness does not mean complete human exclusion, this study examines the possibilities, interests, and difficulties associated with establishing the historical superlative state of the park’s resources as a target for current restoration efforts. The focus is specifically on ENP, as the park’s existence was considered justified only if its superlative and pristine wilderness conditions could be retained in the future. Data were gathered from 18 historical documents obtained from the ENP museum and the online archives of the library shared by Florida International University and the University of Miami. The 1979 Master Plan, 2000 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and other literature provided planning information. Qualitative data analysis was performed using NVivo 11. The findings indicate that the current restoration targets are heavily influenced by shifting baseline syndrome and that outcomes fall short of no net loss of environmental resources. Therefore, the restoration targets not based on the region’s resources during the predrainage period are technically achievable but cannot produce a restored ecosystem in the long term. This study concludes that that planning initiatives should go beyond pollution reduction strategies to include historical conditions and acquisitions of conservation lands as targets for ongoing restoration efforts.
Atisa, G. Using historical information and data to strengthen planning for environmental protection and management at Everglades National Park, South Florida. J Environ Stud Sci 10, 124–136 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-020-00599-5
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences