Panama City Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America


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Mature hardwood forests have very sparse undergrowth and consist mainly of very tall trees and a moderate number of middle-sized trees. Trees in hardwood forests have leaves concentrated near the top. Very few hardwood forests are left in Florida. The ecosystem preserved in these sanctuaries is one of extraordinary diversity. Mature hardwood forests also have an unusually high number of “endemics,” plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Florida Caverns State Park on the Chipola River and Torreya State Park on the Apalachicola River are places you can visit to view the distinctive flora found in the hardwood forest.

Hardwood forest

Credit: USFWS

Black Bear
Credit: USFWS

Species found in hardwood ecosystems

The black bear is a wide-ranging omnivore that makes its home in both upland and wetland forests. The leading threats to the bear include land development, highway construction and automobiles. More than 50 bears are killed on Florida roads each year.

The Florida torreya tree and yew tree are found in rich, deciduous forests on mid-slopes of ravines and steepheads along the east side of the Apalachicola River. They are federal- and state-protected. The cones of the yew tree are most obvious in late winter and early spring, but needles and bark are distinctive year-round.

Torreya tree
Credit: USFWS








Last updated: April 17, 2018