First-of-its-kind study shows Florida Wildlife Corridor eases worst impacts of climate change

A first-of-its-kind study highlights how Florida can buffer itself against both and population pressures by conserving the remaining 8 million acres of "opportunity areas" within the Florida Wildlife Corridor (FLWC). Currently, about 10 million acres of the expansive FLWC's 18 million acres are already conserved permanently.

This superhighway of interconnected acres of wildlands, working lands and waters is the only designated statewide corridor in the United States, and a world-class adaption plan facing down ground zero of climate change in an already warm location. Spanning from Alabama to the Everglades, the FLWC not only protects endangered species like the Florida panther, but also brings economic and climate benefits to . About 90% of Floridians live within 20 miles of the corridor.

The new report, "The Florida Wildlife Corridor and Climate Change: Managing Florida's Natural and Human Landscapes for Prosperity and Resilience," is a joint project by Florida Atlantic University, Archbold Biological Station, Live Wildly Foundation and numerous collaborators. The report paints a holistic picture of how climate change and population growth will impact Florida's communities and natural resources, and how the FLWC, if it were fully enacted, can continue to moderate those impacts.

The report offers hope that there are actions public and private partners can take to keep Florida's lands, waters and communities safe from the worst impacts of climate change. Protecting the FLWC not only shields wildlife from climate change and development, but also supports jobs, economies and such as drinking water and for people living both inside and outside the corridor.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity areas and conserved lands. Credit: Archbold Biological Station

A graph depicts Florida's population growth from 2010 to 2020. Credit: FAU Center for Environmental Studies

Twenty-four percent of all Florida properties are at high-risk of being affected by flooding in the next 30 years. Credit: Live Wildly Foundation