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SUBSTRATE: Saturated with water for varying periods each year; amount of organic matter depends on length of saturation, source of water, and fire frequency.

TOPOGRAPHY: Low-lying; along drainages, around lakes, and in small ponds.

VEGETATION: About 100 species of trees, shrubs, and woody vines commonly found; river swamps most diverse and productive; cypress usually dominates in swamps with frequent fires and fluctuating water levels; high frequency of endemic epiphytes in south Florida swamps.

FAUNA: Many invertebrate species; large and diverse fish populations in swamps adjacent to rivers and lakes; many common amphibians and some reptiles depend on swamps for reproduction; considerable diversity of birds and mammals; rare and endangered birds and mammals most likely to occur in cypress swamps and mixed hardwood swamps.

PROCESSES/DYNAMICS/ABIOTIC FACTORS: Annual length of soil saturation, amount of organic matter accumulation in soil, source of water, and fire frequency determine major characteristics of Florida swamps.

HUMAN IMPACTS: Drainage, filling, mining, logging, water pollution, invasion of human-introduced exotic plants such as Melaleuca; in south Florida, alteration of hydroperiod affects swamps rapidly and profoundly.

ANIMALS AND PLANTS NATIVE TO ECOSYSTEM: List of selectable animals and plants native to the Swamps ecosystem, with detailed descriptions and pictures on each.