"In the Florida Everglades, a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hotspot"

"Drainage has exposed the fertile soils of the Everglades Agricultural Area, a region responsible for much of the nation’s sugar cane."

"ORLANDO, Fla. — It used to be the water spilled over Lake Okeechobee’s southern shore, flowing eventually into the sawgrass prairies of the Florida Everglades. For thousands of years the marsh vegetation flourished and died here in an endless cycle, the plant remains falling beneath the slow-coursing water to form a rich layer of organic soil called peat.

Over time the fertile soil, along with the subtropical climate and abundance of water, drew the attention of farmers, who as far back as the 1880s began digging canals to drain away the water and expose the peat for planting.

Today this region, known as the Everglades Agricultural Area, is among the nation’s most bountiful, raising rice, sod, vegetables like lettuce, celery and corn and most notably sugar cane, making Florida the country’s top producer of the crop.

Growing evidence suggests that draining the water and exposing the peat also has made the region a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, which are warming the global climate and contributing to impacts like hotter temperatures, rising seas and more damaging hurricanes."

Amy Green reports for Inside Climate News November 6, 2023.


Source: Inside Climate News, 11/07/2023