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Population growth led to destruction of 1,220 square miles of Florida

Staff writer ▼ | March 21, 2015
In the 2000 - 2010 decade, Florida's 30 urbanized areas sprawled out and destroyed 1,220 additional square miles of surrounding farmland and natural habit, according to a study by NumbersUSA.
Florida farmlands
NumbersUSA study   Is it ethical to build on good farmland?
According to the NumbersUSA study, "The past decade adds to an unprecedented trend of Florida destruction over more than a quarter of a century. In the 1982 – 2010 period measured by the National Resources Inventory, 4,186 square miles of Florida's natural and agricultural space were converted into urban and suburban development, resorts, vacation homes, roads, and rural commercial sites."

Polling found most Floridians unhappy about the cost to agriculture of accommodating nearly 3 million residents added to the state during 2000-2010.

When asked, 71 percent said "it is unethical to pave over and build on good farmland" compared to 14 percent indicating "the need for more housing is a legitimate reason to pave over farmland."

The study found that 96% of the elimination of surrounding farmland and natural habitat was related to extra demand by new residents. Population growth in Florida's urbanized areas accounted for 1,171 square miles of the lost open spaces according to the study.