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A Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Tropical Forest Ecosystem

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A Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Tropical Forest Ecosystem
A Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Tropical Forest Ecosystem

Tropical Hardwood Forest Hammock

Steve Nix
Tropical hardwood hammock forests are found in the southern half of South Florida, with large concentrations in the Florida Everglades and in the Florida Keys. Tropical hardwood hammocks are closed canopy forests composed of evergreen and semi-deciduous tree and shrub species that are critical habitat for many West Indian plant species in their northernmost range.

South Florida hardwood hammocks develop only in areas protected from fire, flood and salt water and on limestone outcrops or "ridges" several feet above water level. The roots of the trees must be out of the water and must have adequate aeration. "Moats" form around the hammocks as acids from decaying plants dissolve the limestone. These moats hold water and act as barriers that protect the vegetation from glade fires.

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