Case Studies

Science-Policy Disconnect: Case Study of Mangroves

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Challenges and Opportunities with Implementing Local Environmental Policy Case Study: Mangroves

Based on their well documented ecological, social and economic values and functions, and historical habitat loss, mangroves are afforded significant protections at the federal, state and local levels. While the trend of major habitat loss has been halted as a result, there has not been documented regional restoration success for mangroves as has occurred with our seagrass beds. This is primarily due to persistent risks and pressures on mangrove systems such as excessive trimming, competition from exotic vegetation, and their inability to establish in areas of hardened shoreline. This is further compounded by private ownership of the majority of Sarasota County’s shoreline as single-family lots, high costs associated with shoreline restoration, and negative cultural perceptions about mangroves. As Sarasota County routinely evaluates local policies and pursues restoration goals, it is essential to consider the many drivers and desired outcomes and to promote policy that balances natural resource and human needs of the community. It is also important to recognize that fostering a cultural shift where the community inherently values mangrove shorelines is one of the major keys to long-term restoration success.




Submitted by: Matt Osterhoudt, Parks and Natural Resources, Sarasota County

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