Synergy Under Climate Change

GEER2010ABSTRACTRicardo A. Alvarez presented a paper titled “Synergy under Climate Change: The Coupled Everglades-Urban Coastal Florida System” in one of the concurrent sessions at the 2010 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (2010 GEER) conference 12-16 July, 2010 in Naples, Florida.

In this paper Ricardo argues that there is a linkage between the Everglades, the natural ecosystem, and the Coastal Urban Environment in South Florida, the human ecosystem, which is interactive and dynamic and is at the core of a Coupled Everglades-Urban Costal Florida system. This is a system where there is actual synergy between its components, where the urban environment is affected by what happens in the Everglades and viceversa; such synergy will continue to be itself affected as the region responds to climate change and to the impact of recurring hazards that are being exacerbated by climate change.

A concern expressed by Ricardo in this paper is that by focusing exclusively on the restoration of the natural ecosystem GEER is overlooking the synergistic linkage between the natural and human environments. Ricardo argues it is important to monitor and project the future effects on the coupled system as sea level rise drives salt water infiltration, exacerbates storm surge and coastal flooding during hurricanes, or when climate change-driven drought increases the need for fresh water storage for human consumption and for the Everglades. It is clear that the synergy between the Everglades and the Urban Environment merits more attention and continued study.