The restoration of the Florida Everglades, the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world, is now underway. Missing from the original plan, however, is a study of the region’s cities and farms and the economic impact their growth will make on this already endangered ecosystem. This book provides that analysis.
Richard Weisskoff applies the widely-used Regional Economic Modeling Inc. (REMI) model to forecast the future of South Florida’s six million-person, $300 billion economy. In addition, he supplies four significant pieces to the model, namely, detailed projections for agriculture, investment, tourism, and restoration spending. By integrating these and the results of a second economic modeling system (IMPLAN), he traces out three development paths for the region to the year 2030, and the demands for water and urban land required for each path.
Also featured are the results of two land use/land cover surveys which are then used to measure the change in the value of ecosystem services in the Everglades region. The author provides an economic history of the region and statistically documents the transformation of the original Everglades into the sprawling cities and the sugar-citrus-cattle emporium, all of which share the same fragile ecosystem. The study concludes that the ultimate success of the restoration of the Everglades will depend on choices made regarding the future of the region’s cities and farms.
While the volume focuses on the Everglades, it serves also as a case study for other such restoration projects. Ecological and environmental economists, regional scientists, planning professionals, and government agencies will find this timely volume of great interest.