The Everglades, one of Florida's most interesting natural features, are subtropical wetlands located in the southern part of the state. It is a complex collection of interdependent ecosystems that include cypress swamps, mangrove forests, towering palms, marshes, alligator holes and tropical fauna.
Humans have inhabited the Everglades for 15,000 years, and for most of that time they have fought over what to do with it. For about 150 years, draining the area for development has been a big topic of discussion. About 50 percent of the original area has been turned into agricultural or urban areas, but national and international attention to the environment has encouraged and implemented efforts to restore and preserve the area. Everglades National Park was established in 1947 to conserve the natural landscape and prevent further degradation of its land, plants and animals. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance.