Otherwise known as pine rocklands, these forests often take root in the exposed limestone substrate of south Florida. Though the rugged terrain is canopied almost entirely by slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa), the understory boasts an amazingly diverse assemblage of flora, including numerous endemic species that grow only in the local area.
Fire is an essential condition for survival of the pine community, clearing out the faster-growing hardwoods that would block light to the pine seedlings. Many of the plants that grow here are well adapted to a life of frequent fires. The park utilizes a regimen of prescribed burns to mimic the natural pattern or fire and keep these areas healthy.
Did You Know?
Mermaid sightings have been reported by sailors throughout history who often blamed the part-woman, part-fish beings for leading them astray. But folklore experts believe that what those sailors were seeing were not mermaids, but rather air-breathing manatees, or their dugong relatives.