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SUBSTRATE:  Shallow soils over outcroppings of limestone; subtropical to tropical hardwood hammock soils are largely organic.

TOPOGRAPHY:   Uplands.

VEGETATION:  Hammocksforests of broad-leaved, evergreen trees typical of Bahamas and Greater Antilles; many tropical epiphytes; more than 150 species of trees and shrubs native to hammocks of Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties.  Pine forestsdominated by south Florida variety of slash pine; diverse understory of mostly tropical shrubs, as well as many endemic herbs.

FAUNA:  Vertebrates, except for birds, of temperate origin and derived largely from southeastern U.S. fauna; West Indian land birds, such as mangrove cuckoos, butterflies, and land snails are widespread in tropical hammocks of Florida Keys; endangered Schaus butterfly and smallest white-tailed deer in U.S.

PROCESSES / DYNAMICS / ABIOTIC FACTORS: Pine forests occur in areas with permanent, fresh groundwater; fire required for maintenance of pine forests; some hammock trees such as gumbo limbo and mahogany also appear to require openings from fire or other disturbances in order to regenerate.

HUMAN IMPACTS:  Habitats rapidly shrinking from urban development; many earlier hammocks and pinelands cleared by logging or for agriculture; exotic plants such as Brazilian pepper are major threat; exotic tropical vertebrates increasing rapidly and spreading geographically.

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