The Everglades is the central part of a 23,000 km2 watershed covering the lower third of Florida. With both fresh and salt water, it harbors a large variety of ecosystems, including rivers and lakes, sawgrass marshes, prairies, tropical hardwood forests, mangrove swamps, pine rocklands, and offshore coral reefs.
Originally stretching over 11,650 km2, nearly half of the Everglades' wetlands have succumbed to development and to ecosystem destruction from exotic species and polluted runoff from sugarcane fields and other agricultural activity.
Officials can’t stop invasive pythons and anacondas from marauding in the Everglades, Reed said; they can only hope to contain them. “We’re trying to prevent spread to the Florida Keys and elsewhere north.”
The Everglades are home to a large number of endangered creatures, including the American alligator, the Florida panther, various types of turtles, the Cape Sable sparrow, the Schaus swallowtail butterfly, the wood stork and the West Indian manatee.
The Everglades Soil Testing Laboratory (ESTL) was established in 1938 to address plant nutrient deficiency problems that were repeatedly observed in vegetable production. This lab is one of 2 University of Florida Soil Testing Labs. The other lab is in Gainesville where soil testing is done on mineral/sandy soils.
The remaining Everglades, and indeed the entire south Florida ecosystem, no longer exhibit the functions, richness, and area that historically defined the pre-drainage system. There have been substantial and irreversible reductions in the size of the ecosystem.
Compared to populations in other parts of the species range, the American alligators living in the Florida Everglades are shorter, have a reduced length to weight ratio, and attain sexual maturity later in life. In Florida, the alligators have to cope with ambient temperature patterns unlike elsewhere in their range. A scarcity of suitable prey is also suspected to play a part in this divergence.
Over 40 species of mammals are found in Everglades National Park. They include white-tailed deer, bobcats, and the critically endangered Florida panthers. The West Indian manatees are also endangered, and can be found in the marine areas of the park.
One particular of the most attractive elements of a journey to the everglades is the solitude you can encounter. This is a large nationwide park, and even although it draws a lot of visitors, they pass on out above all of the distinct locations of the park, so you can get absent from the crowds with a go to to the Everglades.
Formed over thousands of years its waters and vegetation provides home to thousands of animals, birds, fish, plants, and reptilian species. No wonder the Everglades is often referred to as one of our nation's natural treasures with its wide diversity of plant & animal life. The Everglades is America's only sub-tropical wilderness and visitors travel from all over the world over to experience its natural beauty.