Saving the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Inspiring protection of Florida’s last wild places.

Florida’s population is projected to grow from 21 million today to nearly 35 million by the year 2070. If development follows current trends, Florida could lose an additional five million acres of wildlife habitat, isolate existing conservation lands, and cut off the Everglades from its headwaters in Central Florida and the rest of America beyond.

Florida is one of the few states in the eastern United States with intact large wilderness areas. The state’s long tradition of conservation has led it to be the site of the nation’s first wildlife refuge, Pelican Island, and the first eastern national forest, Ocala National Forest. Over the years the state has implemented several substantial land acquisition programs to save native landscape from development.

From bubbling springs, towering pine forests, wide grassy prairies, pristine beaches and coastal marshes, Florida is home to many unique ecosystems and species. These wild places in Florida are special — not just for the wildlife habitat they provide, but for their role in meeting basic, life-sustaining needs for people. They cannot be replaced.

Do we want to bulldoze and develop what’s left beyond the boundaries of our parks and preserves?

The alternative is to invest in protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor—a statewide network of public and private lands. The corridor is 15.8 million acres (nearly one third of the state), of which 9.5 million acres are already protected and 6.3 million acres do not have conservation status. The unprotected land is what we are fighting for. Most of the unprotected gaps in the Corridor are private working lands – ranches, groves, farms and forestry – that are crucial for conservation but all at risk of being lost to development.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor connects critical wildlife habitat for 42 federally listed endangered species and 24 threatened species from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama. It also provides vital freshwater resources for the over 21 million residents of Florida habitat.

Without long-term protection, significant portions of the Florida Wildlife Corridor are at risk of fragmentation – either by roads or other development. We need to save enough land to keep the Corridor connected and steer development away from our most sensitive lands and waters, providing a model to sustainably balance conservation and development.