The heart of Florida is a 2.6 million-acre watershed, the Headwaters of the Everglades, that stretches from the ancient sands of the Lake Wales Ridge, across nearly one million acres of working cattle ranches to the rivers that flow south into Lake Okeechobee and beyond, to the Everglades and the coasts.

The agro-ecology research program at Buck Island Ranch, driven by Archbold scientists and collaborators from universities and government agencies, is a vital part of Archbold’s integrated research, education, and conservation mission with the power to affect the lives of millions of people in Florida and around the world.

“Once Buck Island Ranch became aligned with Archbold, it became a valuable partner in helping the cattle industry understand and embrace sustainable ranching practices. They have built a wonderful communication bridge between us and the non-ranching community.”

-Jim Handley, Executive Director Florida Cattlemen’s Association

The purchase of Buck Island Ranch provides the long-term security needed for Archbold to continue as a well-spring of knowledge for solving seemingly intractable challenges in environmentally sensitive agricultural lands around the world. Some of the many examples of what we to today that will be expanded tomorrow are:

  • Reverse years of drainage, restore wetlands, and implement payments for water services on ranches to cleanse and slow the flow of water downstream to the Everglades
  • Address cattle management compatible with conservation to save our precious plants, animals, grasslands, and wetlands
  • Unravel the complex interactions among cows, grasses, wetlands, fire, and management, to enhance cycles of carbon, water, and nutrients, and help ranchers and society plan a sustainable future for food production, the environment, and the economy
  • Increase private conservation lands on farms and ranches, linking them with public lands to protect one of Florida’s most important statewide wildlife corridors’
  • Increase the prominence of Archbold’s work on the global stage for decades to come by playing a leadership role in diverse national and international networks, such as the US Department of Agriculture’s Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network