Habitat Cover
  • Wet Pine Savanna

    Wet Pine Savanna

    Wet pine savannas are open, nearly treeless, fire-dependent plant communities dominated by well-developed ground cover and some low shrubs. Wet pine savannas are found on poorly drained hydric soils with long periods of soil saturation.

    Due to fire suppression and conversion to pine plantation by planting and ditching, less than 5% of the original acreage of this habitat remains, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems in the country. The refuge savannas are considered the last remaining large expanses of this habitat. The ground-level plant community found here is one of the most species-rich in North America.

  • Cypress Strand

    Cypress Strand

    Cypress strands are forested wetlands that occupy low-gradient drains through the savannas. Soils are full of organic matter and stream flow is diffuse.

    Vegetation is dominated by mid and over story trees, with a shrub layer and sparse herbaceous groundcover dominated by sedges, peat moss mats, and ferns. 

    Pond cypress, swamp tupelo, red maple and sweet bay are common trees in the over story. Bottomland oaks and sweetgum may also be found.

    Shallow cypress ponds are important nesting sites for Misssissippi sandhill cranes.

  • Gulf Coast Prairie

    Gulf Coast Prairie

    Made up of predominantly wire and switch grasses, coastal prairie once stretched for miles across the Gulf Coastal Plain. These prairies were maintained primarily by fire. The refuge protects, maintains and restores native coastal prairie through the use of prescribed fire, mechanical and chemical brush control.

    The prairie habitat is a vital one for numerous species of birds that require the tall grasses to feed and nest. It is also a favored feeding ground for the Mississippi sandhill crane.