Rare Pignut Hickory in Maritime Forest - Photo by Steve Nix
Most of the Atlantic and Gulf coast is bordered by a "sand strand". The profile of this border is a landscape starting at the sea's edge and developing inland from beach to dunes to zones of woody vegetation called the "dwarf maritime forest". As the name suggests, there can be stunted tree growth due to the harsh conditions that trees constantly undergo surviving severe weather, salt and poor soil.
Atlantic maritime dune woodlands and maritime uplands are an overlooked, misunderstood forest community and under significant threat from both natural and man-made causes. Maritime dune forests are composed of deciduous, coniferous, and broadleaf evergreen trees. These trees include live oak, sabel palm , magnolia, holly, loblolly pine and a rare pignut hickory at Nags Head Woods.
Nags Head Woods is one exception to the idea of an upland ancient dune being stressed. Find out more about our beautiful maritime forests and especially the Nature Conservancy's Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve.