Hydrologic, ecological and social modeling synthesizes and integrates the data gathered by each of the FCE Working Groups to predict the effects of human-controlled water flow (volume, timing, and spatial distribution) on ecosystem attributes, such as water flows, nutrient availability, primary productivity and soil dynamics. There are a number of models that we use to aid in this analysis, ranging from conceptual models of linkages among socio-ecological properties (e.g. Comprehensive Heuristic Model (CHM)), to numerical simulation models that provide mechanistic extrapolations of our understanding of complex system dynamics across the region over multiple decades (e.g. ELM). Fundamentally, the models are important tools we use to further explore the central hypotheses of FCE III.
How do these factors affect people in south Florida?
Social and economic activities in south Florida can be profoundly impacted by freshwater availability, flooding, sea level rise, and climatic disturbances such as hurricanes. Water management decisions are influenced by the hydrologic needs of the Everglades and the water demands associated with consumptive use, flood control, and economic development. These four elements can conflict with one another, creating spatial and temporal "trade-offs" that often appease one component of the landscape at the expense of another. The FCE models and synthesis approaches are designed to incorporate synergistic feedbacks and indirect effects that are not obvious or are poorly understood to better quantify the impacts associated with these trade-offs, and in the long-term, prevent management decisions that have irrevocable consequences on the ecosystem services provided by the Greater Everglades.