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A Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Tropical Forest Ecosystem


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Trees in a Tropical Hardwood Hammock


Steve Nix
Stepping into a tropical hammock from the glade or from pineland presents a sudden, dramatic change for the visitor. The closed canopy creates a deeply-shaded interior with a cool, moist environment. Little sunlight is able to filter through to the forest floor so there is sparse herbaceous ground-cover. Most of the lower level vegetation is shade-loving.

Tropical hammocks are known for their high species diversity. These unique plant communities support over 200 species of plants and trees from the Caribbean tropics alone. Many temperate plant species also grow well in tropical forests such as live oak, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and wild grape. The dominant hammock trees are live oak, royal palm, Gumbo Limbo, mahogany, strangler fig, mastic along with slash pine where fire reaches the hammock edge.

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