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Everglades-Pantanal Partner Park Initiative

Everglades National Park
Great egret in the Everglades

In 1997 the governments of the United States and Brazil signed a Partner Park agreement on behalf of Everglades National Park and Pantanal National Park. The agreement is intended to encourage cooperation to strengthen conservation, resources management, and sustainable use of these two internationally important protected areas. The Everglades and Pantanal represent the largest wetland ecosystems in North and South America, and both of these national parks share three important international designations: each park is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a World Heritage Site. In both regions, the protected areas within the park boundaries represent only a fraction of their larger ecosystems. For this reason, the Pantanal and Everglades National Parks are both under threat from the impacts of altered water flows and water quality degradation associated with upstream human development and regional land-use changes. In spite of these threats, these two protected areas support a mosaic of tropical and sub-tropical biota with high biodiversity and provide critical ecosystem services to nearby population centers of more than 10 million people.

Beginning in 2000 the two parks initiated a program of professional personnel exchanges for the purposes of enhancing the protection and management of natural and cultural resources, providing for enhanced educational opportunities, and improving visitor experiences. In 2007 a new cooperative program was initiated to identify common scientific needs and work began on a collaborative research program with the goal of preserving these internationally important protected areas as part of their broader ecosystems. In 2010 this was expanded to include cooperating universities and non-governmental institutions from each country. These organizations were included to foster educational exchanges and attract scientists that have the needed experience and expertise to carry out monitoring and research programs focused on resource conservation in these two wetland ecosystems. This expanded partnership is called the Everglades-Pantanal Initiative (EPI) and includes the two national parks, Florida International University (FIU), Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the University of Miami (UM), the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), the Centro de Pesquisa do Pantanal, Ecotrópica Foundation, and the Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA).

Pantanal, Brazil
Pantanal, Brazil

In 2010 Everglades National Park hosted a Pantanal scientist for a two-month training program as part of the World Heritage Scholars program. Later that year a group of 10 U.S. scientists participated in a tropical wetland hydrology workshop as part of the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Meeting of the Americas in Brazil. During this visit, the team set up an initial hydrologic monitoring network within Pantanal National Park, collected some initial water quality samples in the region, and held a research planning workshop at the UFMT. In 2011 this partnership led to a three-day EPI scientific meeting in the Everglades involving over 30 U.S. and Brazilian scientists. In 2012 three dedicated Everglades-Pantanal comparative ecosystem sessions were presented at the 9th International Ecology Conference (INTECOL) in Florida. The talks focused on sustaining these wetland ecosystems that provide important natural resources and economic benefits, such as improved water quality, water supply, sustaining soil fertility, pest/disease control, and flood attenuation. The NPS has provided significant seed money to initiate these collaborations.

Last Updated: March 25, 2013