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Pinelands

Pinelands, in particular pine flatwoods, are the most common natural community throughout Florida and generally occur on flat plateaus with sandy soil. Within the panther's range are found pine flatwoods as well as the much less common rockland pine, areas of thin soil on top of ridges of limestone. The Long Pine Key area of Everglades National Park is an example of rockland (also sometimes called rimrock) pine. It is not an island surrounded by water but an "island" surrounded by freshwater marsh. Panthers are known to use the Long Pine Key area. Pinelands are usually moist during the rainy season and are sometimes even flooded. Periodic fires are necessary to prevent their transformation to hardwood forests. After fires, new plant growth is particularly attractive to white-tailed deer. Wild hogs may also be present in pinelands. Vegetation density in pinelands varies from nearly closed to open and almost savanna-like (Alden et al., 1998). Thickets of saw palmetto are frequently present.

Characteristic Animals

Birds:

Bachman's sparrow, threatened bald eagle, black vulture, chuck-will's-widow, common nighthawk, eastern meadowlark, eastern screech owl, endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow, long-billed wren, endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, red-winged blackbird, turkey vulture.

Mammals:

Armadillo, black bear, bobcat, cotton rat, gray fox, possums, raccoon, striped skunk, white-tailed deer, wild hog.

Reptiles and Amphibians:

Black racer, cottonmouth, threatened eastern indigo snake, king snake and lizards.

Characteristic Plants

Bluestem, cabbage palm, gallberry, hatpins, maidencane, saw palmetto, south Florida slash pine, sundews, St. John's wort, wax myrtle and wiregrass.

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