On September 18, Florida officially granted financial support for the permanent preservation of 42,409 acres spread across six different areas within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, according to a post made by the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation on Instagram. These properties encompass Red Hills Conservation, Buck Island Ranch, Natural Bridge Timberlands, Wolfe Creek Forest, Adams Ranch, and Devil's Garden; photos of each location were pictured in the post.
The post noted that, Devil's Garden, Red Hills Conservation, Natural Bridge Timberlands, and Wolfe Creek Forest were financed through the Florida Forever program at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, while Adams Ranch and Buck Island Ranch received funding through the Rural and Family Lands program at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Buck Island Ranch, Adams Ranch, and Red Hills Conservation will be safeguarded through conservation easements, allowing private ownership and management to persist. In contrast, Wolfe Creek Forest, Devil's Garden, and Natural Bridge Timberlands will be acquired by the State of Florida to expand the existing public land.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) habitat loss poses a significant threat to Florida's wildlife, particularly as the state's population is expected to double by 2060, potentially leading to the conversion of 7 million acres of rural and natural land into urban areas.
This could result in the loss of 3 million acres of agricultural land and 2.7 million acres of native habitat to development like roads, malls, and subdivisions. With an influx of 18 million new residents, competition for land and water resources will intensify, leading to the disappearance of woodland and wetland habitats and their associated animal and fish species.
Species with limited geographical ranges are especially at risk.
To address this issue, strategies like acquiring and protecting large conservation lands, promoting compatible agricultural practices, utilizing conservation easements and tax incentives, and implementing thoughtful land-use planning and mitigation agreements are essential.