Florida sand pine scrub is an endangered subtropical
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. The Food and Agricult ...
ecoregion found throughout
Florida Florida (, ) is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. With a population of over 21million, Florida is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, thi ...
in the United States. It is found on coastal and inland sand ridges and is characterized by an evergreen Xerophyte, xeromorphic plant community dominated by shrubs and dwarf oaks. Because the low-nutrient sandy soils do not retain moisture, the ecosystem is effectively an arid one. Wildfires infrequently occur in the Florida scrub. Most of the annual rainfall (about ) falls in summer. It is endangered by residential, commercial and agricultural development, with the largest remaining block in and around the Ocala National Forest. Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge also holds a high proportion of remaining scrub habitat, while the Archbold Biological Station near Lake Placid, Florida, Lake Placid contains about of scrub habitat and sponsors biological research on it.

Plant communities

There is a high level of endemism in the flora and fauna, including an estimated 40 species of plants, 4 vertebrates and at least 46 species of arthropod found nowhere else.

Florida peninsula inland scrub

Florida peninsula inland scrub is the plant community for which this ecoregion is named. Clumps of Pinus clausa, sand pines (''Pinus clausa'') constitute the Canopy (biology), canopy. Common plant species include Quercus geminata, sand live oak (''Quercus geminata''), Quercus myrtifolia, myrtle oak (''Q. myrtifolia''), Quercus inopina, sandhill oak (''Q. inopina''), Quercus chapmanii, Chapman oak (''Q. chapmanii''), Ceratiola ericoides, Florida rosemary (''Ceratiola ericoides''), Sabal etonia, scrub palmetto (''Sabal etonia''), Serenoa, saw palmetto (''Serenoa repens''), garberia (''Garberia heterophylla''), Lyonia lucida, fetterbush lyonia (''Lyonia lucida''), Lyonia ferruginea, rusty staggerbush (''L. ferruginea''), Cladonia, cup lichens (''Cladonia'' spp.), Ilex opaca, scrub holly (''Ilex opaca'' var. ''arenicola''), osmanthus americanus, American olive (''Osmanthus americanus'' var. ''megacarpus''), Asimina obovata, flag-pawpaw (''Asimina obovata''), persea humilis, silk bay (''Persea humilis''), Yucca filamentosa, Adam's needle (''Yucca filamentosa''), and Opuntia humifusa, eastern prickly pear (''Opuntia humifusa'').

Longleaf pine sandhill

Florida longleaf pine sandhills are often found adjacent to the scrub. They consist of stands of Pinus palustris, longleaf pine (''Pinus palustris'') on very well-drained, sandy hills. These stands are maintained by frequent fires. Quercus laevis, Turkey oak (''Quercus laevis'') is common in the understory and Aristida stricta, pineland threeawn (''Aristida stricta'') makes up the ground layer.

Oak dome and hammock

The southern coastal plain oak dome and hammocks occur as thick stands of evergreen oaks in small patches on shallow depressions or slight hills. These forests are distinct from their surrounding habitats, which are often dominated by longleaf pine. On mesic sites, common species are Quercus virginiana, southern live oak (''Quercus virginiana''), Quercus hemisphaerica, sand laurel oak (''Q. hemisphaerica''), and Diospyros virginiana, American persimmon (''Diospyros virginiana''). The understory is sparse, with Campsis radicans, trumpet creeper (''Campsis radicans'') and Smilax, greenbriers (''Smilax'' spp). On xeric sites, common species are sand live oak (''Quercus geminata''), southern live oak (''Q. virginiana''), longleaf pine (''Pinus palustris''), pineland threeawn (''Aristida stricta''), and stylisma humistrata, southern dawnflower (''Stylisma humistrata'').

Highlands freshwater marsh

Floridian highlands freshwater marshes are highland marshes found in shallow peat-filled valleys, the basins of dried lakes, and the borders of existing lakes. The vegetation mosaic includes a range of mostly herbaceous plant communities, varying based on water depth. Deep water supports various submerged and floating plants. Meter-deep water supports emergent Herbaceous plant, herbaceous perennial plants, typically in dense, monospecific stands, such as Typha latifolia, bulrush (''Typha latifolia''), Pontederia cordata, pickerelweed (''Pontederia cordata''), and Nelumbo lutea, American lotus (''Nelumbo lutea''). Shallow areas submerged only during the wet season support more grasses, including Panicum hemitomon, maidencane (''Panicum hemitomon'') and leersia hexandra, southern cutgrass (''Leersia hexandra''). Subsidence and drainage pattern changes make these habitats shift and change over time. Soils can be mucky, loamy, or sandy, but they are generally above permeable subsoils that create standing water much of the year. These marshes may also be called meadows or prairies.

Nonriverine basin swamp

Southern coastal plain nonriverine basin swamps occur in large, seasonally-flooded depressions away from rivers. Sites are often forested in trees such as Taxodium distichum, bald cypress (''Taxodium distichum''), Nyssa biflora, swamp tupelo (''Nyssa biflora''), and sometimes Pinus elliottii, slash pine (''Pinus elliottii''). Characteristic shrubs include Cliftonia monophylla, buckwheat tree (''Cliftonia monophylla''), Cyrilla, swamp cyrilla (''Cyrilla racemiflora''), Smilax laurifolia, laurelleaf greenbrier (''Smilax laurifolia''), and fetterbush lyonia (''Lyonia lucida'').


Notable animals of the Florida scrub include the Florida scrub jay (''Aphelocoma coerulescens''), the endemic Florida mouse (''Podomys floridanus''), Neoseps, sand skink (''Neoseps reynoldsi''), mole skink, bluetail mole skink (''Plestiodon egregius lividus''), Florida scrub lizard (''Sceloporus woodi''), Rhineuridae, Florida worm lizard (''Rhineura floridana''), and the gopher tortoise which is an important keystone species.

See also

* List of ecoregions in the United States (WWF)


External links

* {{cite web , first=N. D. , last=Deyrup , author2=Wilson, C. B. , year=2000 , title=Discovering Florida Scrub: Exploring science in a native ecosystem , publisher=Archbold Biological Station , url=http://www.archbold-station.org/discoveringflscrub/ , access-date=2007-03-05 , url-status=dead , archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20070202173423/http://www.archbold-station.org/discoveringflscrub/ , archive-date=2007-02-02

External links

Archbold Station.org: An introduction to Florida scrub
Temperate coniferous forests of the United States Ecoregions of Florida Forests of Florida Flora of the Southeastern United States, * Flora of Florida, * Nearctic ecoregions