A recently released Florida Department of Transportation study conservatively estimates that roadside vegetation along the state highway system performs nearly a half-billion dollars worth of ecosystem services. The study found that value would increase to $1 billion if sustainable vegetation management practices such as reduced mowing were adopted. The value would triple to $1.5 billion if wildflower areas were incorporated into roadside landscapes. Ecosystem services include carbon sequestration, runoff prevention, and support of crop pollinators and other insects, as well as contributions to air quality, invasive species resistance and roadside aesthetics.
|Native roadside wildflowers in Florida's Panhandle|
"These findings are a significant step toward fully understanding the benefits of vegetation, including wildflowers and native plant communities, along Florida's state highways. It's clear such vegetation, which is often viewed as a financial liability, has significant value to every Floridian in terms of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the waterways and springs we enjoy," said Lisa Roberts, Florida Wildflower Foundation executive director.
|SR 47 roadside view|
FDOT manages about 186,000 roadside acres - about one-half percent of Florida’s total area.
To view the full report, visit http://www.dot.state.fl.us/research-center/Completed_Proj/Summary_EMO/FDOT-BDK75-977-74-rpt.pdf
Press release by Lisa Roberts
Posted by Laurie Sheldon