Florida serves as home to the largest subtropical wilderness and natural ecosystem in the United States: The Everglades National Park. In general, natural resources include air, water and soil, mineral and metal reserves, energy resources that include wind, solar and tide power – and nonrenewable fossil fuels – as well as land, forests, plants and animals. These multiple natural resources in Florida help people to live and flourish.
Florida has the longest continuous coastline in the contiguous United States. As a natural resource, Florida’s coastlines provide access to beaches, fishing and recreational activities. These areas also serve as sites for harbors, ports, beachfront homes and tourist attractions, which bring in revenue to support local governments and the local populations to help them thrive.
Air, Water, Soil and Land
Florida’s temperate climate; sea-fresh, low-pollution air; and extensive water, soil and land resources make it an ideal place for agriculture that includes citrus, sugarcane, peppers, cotton, watermelons, tomatoes, peanuts and potatoes. Florida has more freshwater springs than anywhere else in the U.S., and it has more than 12,000 square miles of fresh lakes, streams and rivers.
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Renewable Energy Resources
Florida has the potential to produce renewable energy from its solar, wind and tide resources. With all the sunshine it receives, Florida ranks third in the nation for solar panel potential, but only twelfth nationally for the amount of rooftop solar installations. But because of its geographical location, Florida could install wind and tide farms offshore to generate even more renewable power for the state. Florida also serves as home to a variety of softwood and hardwood forests, a renewable resource that provides wood for construction.
Mining and Mineral Resources
Ranked fifth in the U.S. for its mining and mineral production, these mineral resources include limestone, sand and gravel, clay, heavy minerals, phosphate used in fertilizer production and peat – decaying plant matter – used in horticulture.
As a world heritage site, with parts of it protected under the Cartagena Treaty, Florida’s Everglades National Park is also recognized as an international biosphere reserve that includes multiple marine, coastal and territorial ecosystems. This national park serves to protect not only a wetlands landscape unlike any elsewhere in the world, but it also protects the manatee, the Florida panther, the American crocodile and most all wildlife within its borders.