Friday, February 22nd, 2013 | Author:
An American alligator and a Burmese python struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park. Pythons have been known to kill and eat alligators in the park.Photo by Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service.

An American alligator and a Burmese python struggle to prevail in Everglades National Park. Pythons have been known to kill and eat alligators in the park.
Photo by Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service.

Photo Link to National Geographic

 

We have learned so much over the past years about the environment and our effects on it.  We need it to survive, but yet there are so many people that feel it is more of a problem that gets in the way of the future than actually being our future.  While reading Resilience Thinking I read the thought that author James Carlos Blake had about the everglades, which was ” If the Devil ever raised a garden, the Everglades was it,”   Such a sad mindset I thought.   I find a place that holds so much diversity to be beautiful and peaceful, even if the bugs that are produced there irritate me.  The population is rising, while animals are declining and so is our wetlands and forests that we need to keep the environment in balance.   I am glad that they realized the problems that came along with destroying wetlands and that things have been put into place to now protect them.   We talked about CERP, which having a parent that lived in Florida for a while, I had only briefly heard of before.  Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, has a website for all to visit and learn more about what is going on and how you can help.  We also talked about how more phosphorous is in the area there and pushing the saw-grass out and growing cattails.  Changing the main vegetation can in turn change the animal life, which can be devastating.  I thought about other invasive species in the Everglades and  “of the known and thriving invasive animal species introduced into south Florida, four are amphibians, 32 are fish, 12 are birds, 46 are reptiles, 17 are mammals, and approximately 79 are invertebrates, according to the South Florida Water Management District. One high-profile example in the Everglades is the Burmese python. ” (everglades.org) I also found more detailed information of invasive species now present in the everglades.  A lot more than I had even thought.  Resiliency is for people, animals, ecosystems and is the ability to bounce back to original state after a disturbance, and I as I am thinking of the Everglades, its unclear if it can bounce back.  It has not been completely changed yet, but still isn’t what is was, and is continuing to change.

-Terra S

DLIL_Restore_Everglades

 

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  1. terra says:

    there were a lot of comments to this post, thank you. I do agree that nothing on our planet will forever stay the same, and we are looking at invasive species as being “bad”, but that is because in many cases they are if we do not learn to adapt to them properly. We just may not know what is going to happen if they completely take over. People can get out of hand, and I didn’t think about people killing native species just because they think its possibly a python. We want to control everything, and that just is not possible.

  2. isabelsaari says:

    I looked into the issue of the pythons as invasive species, and as it turns out, it’s a problem that can extend past the Everglades. Snakes are very flexible creatures that can adapt to many environments. If it gets too cold, they simply shut down for the remainder of that season until it warms up. If no predators are searching for them in the vulnerable state, they will easily survive. It’s for this reason that pythons and other snakes can move into other states and ecosystems to which they don’t belong.

  3. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    We talked about the recent Python Challenge Florida just had from Jan-Feb that 1500 people signed up for. They caught 65 snakes that are being autopsied and some are being tracked back. The issue of invasive species changes the idea of resilience because often native species are completely incapable of dealing with strong non-native predators.

  4. bcrane says:

    I liked your comment about how “there are so many people that feel it is more of a problem that gets in the way of the future than actually being our future”. I completely agree with this and it is an unfortunate thing. I fear that too many people in the world will realize how much of a negative impact we’ve made on the environment when it is too late to fix it. This is why I think it is so important to expand the publics knowledge about the environment and how important it is to maintain it.

  5. riafirth says:

    Hopefully the everglades will be resilient however, I do not know just how much needs to be done to measure the resiliency. It is interesting how the culmination of people’s mindsets are able to completely alter an environment completely. I like how you acknowledge this and also are aware of the fact that these mindsets can be changed, though who knows to what extent. Thank you for the link to the conservation everglades website, it is very informative and interesting.

  6. kknoop says:

    I would like to think that the Everglades are resilient. The biggest roadblock for even the possibility for resilience in this area is the human effects, along with invasive species that could also be classified under human disturbance. The wetlands are a necessary ecosystem especially in the south-eastern part of the U.S., and I hope we all realize this fact before it’s too late.

  7. johnnyespo says:

    I am not sure if the Everglades can ever bounce back either. It seems that the changes that have happened are pretty much there to stay. That doesn’t mean that a concerted effort from everyone could stop the impact we have been placing on the ecosystem.

  8. davidd says:

    I would think the Everglades can bounce pack. That is what’s so magnificent about the world, the ability for ecosystems to repair and heal themselves. Yes, it will never be what is used to be, but it can come out as something new. Take the BP oil spill that occurred a couple years ago. My father has a oil spill clean up company that actually worked on that spill. At first observation of the spill, he thought we would be down there for years cleaning up all the oil in the water and sand. But something remarkable happened, the environment started to repair itself. There are actual microorganisms in the gulf that feed off the oil deposits deep in the ocean floor. When the spill happened, these organisms ate up much of the oil that spilled out of the rig. read some more info here http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/09/11/Study-Bacteria-made-a-meal-of-gulf-spill/UPI-47541347392744/. So people should never underestimate what the world can do!

  9. Kaycee Faunce says:

    The invasive species issue in the Everglades is one we didn’t discuss too much in class, so I’m glad you brought it up. In particular, the Burmese and reticulated python populations there are estimated to be in the 100,000s – since these pythons can reach maturity at 13ft or larger, they are capable of feeding on a variety of wildlife, including those that are already endangered or prized in the ecosystem, such as the migratory birds. I’ve read somewhere that they are training dogs to help hunt these pythons out of the particularly remote/dense areas and offering bounties to hunters who kill them. (This last one worries me somewhat, though, because in my experience most people aren’t very good at snake identification – I see this going badly once the monetary reward is involved. What’s to say people won’t start killing native snakes thinking they are baby pythons?)

  10. kdekker says:

    I agree that teh wetlands are important, but to teh idea that if you change the environment the animals wil change, who says teh changes will be bad or destructive? Such as teh grasses being taken over by cattails, although the native species dissapear and new species come into the area, who says its bad? Just because of a different type of environment than originally doesn’t always mean its in teh wrong direction. I feel as though people should stay out of the nature reserves mostly but, if we don’t alter the ecosystem, some other top predator will. Is it because we undersatnd more that we see this change of envrmonment as bad, nothing will saty the sameforever. If we alter it or not, some other species will over take the area and eventually we will call it native.