|DUNES AND MARITIME FORESTS
SUBSTRATE AND TOPOGRAPHY: Sandy, sometimes mixed with
calcium carbonate; linear barrier islands and some other shorelines
along coast; sandy capes; typically contain parallel zones of upper
beach, undulating foredune, transition or "backdune,"
and stable dune, sloping upward and away from the water's edge.
VEGETATION: Foredunes contain grasses such as sea
oats; a variety of forest vegetation is characteristic of stable
dunes: going south from Cape Canaveral on east and from Tampa
Bay on west, gradually changes from domination by temperate species
to domination by tropical species; at least 22 species of endemic
plants are found in dunes and maritime forests.
FAUNA: Beaches are the most important nesting site
for loggerhead turtle in the Western Hemisphere, as well as for
several species of shore birds, including the endangered snowy plover;
dunes and forests are wintering grounds for many other bird species
and habitat for several special-interest species of small rodents.
PROCESSES / DYNAMICS / ABIOTIC FACTORS: Wind- and
wave-driven sand interact with pioneer grasses to build dunes; waves
from hurricanes may destroy dunes.
HUMAN IMPACTS: Development of beach front, with greatest
impacts near Ft. Walton, Jacksonville, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale,
Miami, and Clearwater-St. Petersburg; by 1975 nearly 20% of Florida's
barrier islands had been developed; exotic plants such as Australian
pine, Brazilian pepper, and sisal are also a serious problem.
ANIMALS AND PLANTS NATIVE TO ECOSYSTEM: List of selectable
and plants native to the Dunes and Maritime Forests ecosystem,
with detailed descriptions and pictures on each.