Florida's natural lands and waters are at the core
of our state's prosperity, bringing billions of dollars in economic
benefits to our state every year.
Our forests, rivers and creeks, and coastal waters
are invaluable to fish and wildlife, and to our own quality of
But recent predictions indicate that our state's
human population may double to 36 million in the next 50 years. If
that happens, as a
study published by 1000 Friends of
Florida suggests, about 7 million acres of land could be
converted from rural and natural to urban uses (see maps). If
we develop as we have in the past, roads, shopping malls and
subdivisions will replace the rich diversity our landscape
currently offers. Development also will impact our coastal waters
and coral reefs.
We have prepared this report to help
you understand the changes that may occur in Florida's fish and
wildlife and in our own lifestyles if the state's population
In the years to come, leaving the work of
conservation and management to just a few won't be enough. We will
need fresh, effective strategies, including smart growth
initiatives and green infrastructure planning, to direct and shape
the growth that is coming our way. By encouraging development that
is economically sound, environmentally sensitive and
community-friendly, instead of allowing haphazard sprawl, we can
keep the Florida we love.
In the following pages, you will see predictions of
what might come to pass and read stories about just a few of the
many Floridians, both in the private sector and working for
government, who have dedicated themselves to conserving our fish
and wildlife resources.
What does the future hold for Florida's fish and
wildlife? That's up to all of us.