Covering more than 4,300 square miles in Southern Florida, the Everglades are the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, in recognition of its significance to all the people of the world. However, it is apparent that the Everglades have undergone radical changes in both water flow and water quality over the years.
The Everglades Experiments: Lessons for Ecosystem Restoration is a synthesis of the key findings and a summary of the experiments conducted during a fourteen-year period (1989-2003) by the Duke University Wetland Center and its partner institutions. Synthesized by Curtis J. Richardson, the findings are the result of extensive experimental research on the effects of water, nutrients, and fire on the Everglades communities. The research focused on such key questions as:
* What are the effects of increased nutrient and water inputs on the native plant and animal communities?
* What is the long-term nutrient storage capacity of the Everglades? and
* How can water management in the Everglades be improved to maintain the natural communities?
This work covers both the structural and functional responses of the Everglades ecosystem via experimental and gradient studies on microbial activity, algal responses, macroinvertebrate populations, macrophyte populations, and productivity in response to alterations to nutrients in soil and water, hydrologic changes, and fire. Importantly, this volume reclassifies the Everglades, provides a comparison of historic and current ecological processes, and presents a new working hydrologic paradigm, which collectively provide essential lessons for the restoration of this vast peatland complex.
From the reviews: "The Everglades experiments is one of the few synthesis books that could be used by policy makers and scientists to adopt strategies for Everglades restoration. ! The Everglades experiments: lessons for ecosystem restoration is a great resource to scientists and researchers at different universities, and state and federal agencies that are involved in Everglades restoration. It will be useful to students in the ecology and the environmental fields with the Everglades used as a case example." (Samira Daroub, Ecology, Vol. 90 (2), 2009)
Introduction.- The Hydrologic Status of the Everglades, Past and Present Alteration Effects.- Soils of the Everglades Landscape.- Vegetation of the Everglades.- Ecological Status of the Everglades: Historical and Current Comparisons of Ecosystem Structure and Function.- Long-term Water Chemistry Along Nutrient and Hydrologic Gradients.- Hydrology Gradients in the Everglades.- Soil Chemistry and P Storage Along Nutrient Gradients.- Patterns of Algal Assemblages Along a Phosphorus Gradient.- Macrophyte Community Responses to Long-term Nutrient Additions, Altered Hydroperiod and Fire.- Invertebrates Along a Nutrient Gradient in the Northern Everglades.- Historical Gradient Changes in Vegetation, Water Quality and Hydrology in WCA-2A as Determined by Paleoecological Analysis.- A Mesocosm Approach to Establishment of Phosphorus Dosing Gradients in the Everglades.- Water Quality and Soil Chemistry responses to P Dosing.- Diel Changes in Water Chemistry in Response to P Dosing.- Changes in Macrophyte Slough Communities in Response to Experimental P Enrichment.- Experimental Assessment of Phosphorus Effects on Algal Assemblages in Dosing Mesocosms.- Decomposition of Organic Matter under P Dosing.
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About the Author: Curtis J. Richardson is a professor of Resource Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, and Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in Durham, NC.