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Space Coast Audubon Society

Serving Brevard County, Florida, and Florida's Space Coastoin

Join SCAS for our December 19 Meeting: 
Vulnerability of Species and Natural Communities in Florida to Sea-Level Rise
and What We Can Do About It 

Please join Space Coast Audubon Society on December 19 when Reed Noss will present Vulnerability of Species & Natural Communities in Florida to Sea-Level Rise & What We Can Do About It.

Reed Noss is Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Central Florida and President of the FL Institute for Conservation Science.  He currently conducts research on vulnerability of species and ecosystems to sea-level rise; climate adaptation strategies; disturbance (e.g. fire) ecology; road ecology; ecosystem conservation and restoration; and changes in ecological processes and species assemblages along urban-rural-wildland gradients.
He has nearly 300 publications, including seven books. His latest book is Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (Island Press, 2013).

In Florida and other low-lying coastal regions, sea-level rise is an immediate and severe threat to natural and human communities.
Reed Noss and his colleagues evaluated >300 species of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates and natural communities in Florida with coastal or near-coastal distributions, in terms of their vulnerability to sea-level rise in combination with climate change and urbanization. The species most vulnerable to sea-level rise and interacting threats in Florida are primarily range-restricted (endemic) species on islands, especially the Florida Keys, such as the Florida semaphore cactus, Miami blue butterfly, mangrove terrapin, and Key deer. For most island species, the only alternative to extinction with 1-2 m sea-level rise is ex situ conservation (zoos and botanical gardens).

Many mainland coastal species, such as aboriginal prickly pear and loggerhead turtle are also highly vulnerable. For mainland species restricted to largely developed coastlines, conservation options include:
  1. Protect and manage existing habitat for as long as possible
  2. Protect projected future habitat landward of coastal development
  3. Provide assisted colonization to recipient habitat. The coastal regions with the greatest adaptation potential are those with the least human development, including the Everglades/Big Cypress/Ten Thousand Islands region and the “Big Bend” coast where the Florida peninsula meets the panhandle. Additional conservation options for these regions include
  4. Protect and manage existing habitat corridors to projected future habitat
  5. Restore/create corridors to recipient habitat. Landward movement of natural communities, such as salt marshes and mangroves, should be facilitated where possible. Florida's rich mangrove bird guild - unique in the United States - is at risk of disappearing if mangroves are unable to respond adaptively to sea-level rise.
Be sure to join Space Coast Audubon for what is sure to be an enlightening and informative presentation.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all general meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. in Calvin Hall at the Rockledge Presbyterian Church, 921 Rockledge Drive (on the corner of Orange Ave) Rockledge, FL.

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