Escaping a rigidity trap: Governance and adaptive capacity to climate change in the everglades social ecological system

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Apr 01, 2014
Lance H. Gunderson, Ahjond Garmestani, Keith W. Rizzardi, J. B. Ruhl, and Alfred Light



The Everglades is perhaps one of the most recognized ecosystems on the planet. Its international reputation arose in part because of the writings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who wove together a rich, natural, social, and cultural depiction of the area entitled River of Grass. 1 The ecosystem is characterized as a subtropical wetland, rich in biodiversity and other environmental values. 2 Such values are reflected in the portions of the Everglades set aside for conservation and preservation. 3 The areas of the Everglades with the deepest organic soils now support agricultural production of sugar and vegetables that rely on federal economic support. 4 A mild subtropical climate also contributes to a tourist economy, and abundant rainfall provides water resources for millions of inhabitants. 5 Such complexities illustrate a few of the interactions between people and their environment that can be distilled into a conceptual framework of the social-ecological system of the Everglades.

Read the article in the Idaho Law Review.


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