WILDLANDS PROJECT IMPACT How might the Wildlands Project change America?

Don Casey


“Everyone,” responded Linda Conway Duever. Ms. Duever was making her presentation to the 1998 Natural Resource Forum 98 . She has twenty five years in the ecological field, and is a science staff professional for the Nature Conservancy and Audubon Society.

The Forum was sponsored by the University of Florida Office of the Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and other government entities. The Steering Committee included the Director of Public Lands Program for the Nature Conservancy; other members were either University representatives or government officials at the State and Federal level. A partial list of Federal officials include:

bullet Ecosystem Management Staff Officer, National Forests of Florida, USDA Forest Service;
bullet Acting Chief – Regulatory Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chief Restoration Ecology Branch U.S. Geological Survey.



Science magazine evaluated the Wildlands Project in its June 1993 issue describing how the Project would create islands of human habitations surrounded by animal reserves. Ultimately the islands or urban hubs, as they are called in the State of Florida’s officially sanctioned plan,* will likely grant the human population only 40% of the land, with a 10% buffer to sure that human actions do not influence the animal populations. Animals will, under the new system being created, control 50% of the land across the Americas.

Ms. Duever, in the 98 Forum said the planning process began in 1995 and mapped the areas where human and animal populations will be allowed to live in the southeastern United States. This phase of the project ended with the completion of the maps in 2003. The maps may be viewed at the University of Florida s website: http://www.geoplan.ufl.edu/epa/results.html. The project, known as the Southeastern Ecological Framework, includes the proposed location for reintroduction of the black bear.

The Future:

Ms. Duever stated that once the maps were complete: Others will then need to refine the maps and devise planning and implementation strategies to bring a green infrastructure system into reality. Other organizations involved in project planning include&.US Forest Service (USFS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) both government agencies have published forecast which indicate a desire to provide incentives to bring a green infrastructure system into reality. Evaluating different management plans that on one end of the scale reduce the economy by one third and on the other reduce the economy by 80%2 – the USFS selected the latter. The reduction of Alabama s rural economy will take ten years to accomplish, a rate of economic destabilization that will likely not be noticed.

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