SS3.06 Large Scale Change in Prominent Ecosystems
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 10:00:00 AM
Location: Lecture Theatre
 
NewmanS, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, USA, snewman@sfwmd.gov
McCormick, P, V, Everglades Program Team/LNWR, Boynton Beach, USA, 
Smith, S, M, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, USA, smsmith@sfwmd.gov
 
HUMAN IMPACTS AND BIOGEOCHEMICAL HETEROGENEITY WITHIN THE EVERGLADES LANDSCAPE
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While sharing a common characteristic of low background phosphorus levels, the Everglades is a heterogeneous system in terms of other chemical and biological characteristics. The landscape transitions from a softwater, long hydroperiod, peat-based wetland in the north to a shorter hydroperiod, marl prairie in the south. During the beginning of the 20th century, the Everglades was segmented by an extensive system of canals and levees. As a result, the Everglades was converted from an open, flowing system with water broadly distributed, to a compartmentalized system consisting of a mixture of both drained and impounded areas. These human induced alternations have caused significant changes in biogeochemical cycles and habitat mosaic. In the northern Everglades, anthropogenic phosphorus enrichment has resulted in the loss of native periphyton communities and the proliferation of dense Typha spp. stands. Overdrainage, in other areas of the landscape has resulted in soil oxidation and an increase in peat burning fires, resulting in soil compaction and nutrient transformations. This research examines the biogeochemical and hydrologic characteristics of the Everglades and the sensitivity of these different regions to phosphorus enrichment.