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Mediation Could Be Key in Everglades Dispute

Thursday, October, 4, 2018

Mediation could wind up being the only thing that can save the Florida Everglades, at least according to a team of FIU researchers hoping to restore the South Florida wetlands area.


According to the group, mediators would act as “wetland restoration brokers” and would allow for the navigation of the various financial and political pressures that make restoring the wetland so challenging. Mediation would make it easier to settle conflicts when they arise with stakeholders and ensure the environment is protected without jeopardizing those with a financial interest in the area.


According to Luca Marazzi, the author of a paper advocating for mediation, “Wetland restoration needs to benefit people and nature in a balanced way. To effectively restore wetlands, conflicts between stakeholder interests need to be solved and the Everglades’ environmental complexity needs to be managed.” Marazzi is a postdoctoral researcher in FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society.


The group has analyzed restoration of the Everglades thus far, and has also looked at other wetlands areas throughout the world. In addition to using mediation, they also believe it would be beneficial to conduct research into what the wetlands were like before people moved into the area and request information from social science researchers about development in the area.


The Everglades absorbs flood waters from storms and feeds into the water supply of more than 30 percent of the people living in the state. It’s also home to animals and plants, many of which are endangered. In the last 75 years, it has been drained to half of what it was for the purposes of agriculture and urban development. Despite a restoration effort that included more than 60 projects, progress is slow and restoration is not expected to occur until at least 2060.