phosphate mining. Many hammocks also occur within the delta portions of coastal river basins. As upland landforms, hammocks provide a diversity of woodland, shrub and wetland habitats.
Diversity of habitats, plant communities and associated fauna generally increases with hammock size. Islands of less than 0.4 hectares (1 acre) in size may be of uniformly low elevation and may become partially or completely inundated by salt water during extreme high tides. Such hammocks have few if any large trees and may be predominantly salt-shrub or grassland. Some very small hammocks with elevations precluding inundation except during extreme storm driven tides may have a few stunted specimens of live oak (Quercus virginiana) and/or cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto), but frequently have nearly pure stands of southern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola) with a narrow salt-shrub collar.
Most hammock islands of at least 0.4 hectares (1 acre) in size have some cover provided by live oak and cabbage palmetto and in at least these respects share characteristics with typical maritime forest. A narrow band of salt-shrub thicket encircles most hammocks at the marsh and upland interface. A broken band of southern red cedar and shrub thicket dominated by wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) frequently occupies the transition zone directly upland of this thicket. Seasonally flooded depressions and high marsh or salt-shrub incursions or sloughs may extend beneath cabbage palmetto dominated swales. Frequently, salt-tolerant grasses, sedges and herbs colonize these hydric soils where the shrub layer is absent or sparse. Portions of hammocks abutted by tidal waterways often have an abrupt transition from mature canopy forest to the high tide zone, with a very thin salt-shrub or high marsh collar if such occurs at all.
Associated Species Highest Priority:
Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Diamondback Terrapin, Mink
Moderate Priority: “Pine Flatwood Crayfish”
Ocean Beaches and Transition Zones
General Description and Location Ocean beaches and the associated transition zones are formed primarily from unconsolidated sand and are ubiquitous features on barrier islands or ocean strand that directly fronts the Atlantic Ocean. Dune habitat includes sand dunes and swales, flats and pools between dunes and between dunes and other features. Seaward of the dune system, sandy flats may occur in areas where dunes have been eroded. Beaches and associated habitats are influenced by windblown salt spray and sand and may be occasionally flooded, particularly during storms. Vegetated components of the beach system include:
Maritime Grassland. That portion of the Atlantic Ocean beach dune system vegetated by grasses and herbs. This habitat includes sand dunes and swales and flats between dunes and between dunes and other features. Characteristic plants include sea oats (Uniola paniculata), bitter panicgrass (Panicum amarum), seabeach evening-primrose (Oenothera humifusa) and dune waterpennywort (Hydrocotyle bonariensis).
Interdune Pond. Low depressions or pools within the secondary dunes that hold water either permanently or seasonally. Both vegetation and animal life in pools is largely