Southwestern Florida contains extensive areas of subtropical wetland with a mosaic of sawgrass marsh, wetland prairies, cypress swamps, tropical hardwood hammocks, upland pine woodlands and coastal mangroves. While known as the “river of grass,” this region also contains large areas of intact forest in upland or drier areas. Two large protected areas conserve this ecosystem, Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. For more information, visit the National Park Service’s Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park websites.
Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) are large unfragmented forest ecosystems, at least 500 km2 in size, and without roads, logging, or other significant signs of human activity. These areas are large enough to retain all native forest biodiversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species.
The largest intact forest areas are in the tropics (Amazon Basin, Congo Basin, and Southeast Asia) and in boreal forests (Canada, Alaska, and Russia). Within the southern United States, only three intact forest landscapes remain: in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Okefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia, and in southwestern Florida.