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Hammocks, Everglades Ntl. Park, Florida (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann
Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.
Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 1
This ecoregion contains an extraordinary variety of birds, reptiles, and plants that occur nowhere else in the U.S. The sheet flow of water through the marsh is unique in that it results from rainfall rather than river flooding.*
Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most
intact): 3 (vulnerable)
Only 2% of the original ecosystem is truly intact, although about 30% could be restored with proper management. Disruption of water flow by canals, conversion to sugar cane cultivation, effects of pesticides and fertilizer, and invasion by exotic species such as Schinus terebinthifoilius (Brazilian pepper) are serious threats.*
(Left) Hammocks form where the limestone bedrock emerges above the water level of the everglades. If bypassed by fire for a long time, hardwoods like Swietinia mahagoni (mahognay) become established and form a jungle-like "island". (center left) Epiphytes in a large hammock. (center right) Epiphytes on mahogany in a large hammock. (right) Ficus aurea (Florida strangler fig) enveloping a host tree. (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann hires hires hires hires
cypress dome or "head"
(left) Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) becomes established in depressions in the limestone bedrock. In the center where the depression and soil is deepest, the trees are the tallest and they become successively smaller toward the edge of the depression. This produces the "dome" shape. (right) Epiphytes on Taxodium distichum. (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann hires hires
coastal mangrove swamp
As the ground rises out of the ocean, a series of trees occurs according to their tolerance for inundation. (left) Rhizophora mangle (American or red mangrove) is the most tolerant of submersion in salt water and grows in the mudflats where its roots are under water at low tide. Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) grows in the zone that is covered by high tides, but exposed at low tide. Laguncularia racemosa (white mangrove) grows above the tidal zone as does Conocarpus erectus (buttonwood) (right). (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann hires hires
* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al. (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment. World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada. Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 310-313.
** George, J.C. (1972) Everglades Wildguide. Natural History Series, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.