The Everglades Watershed: A Rich & Diverse Ecosystem

The Everglades Watershed: A Rich & Diverse Ecosystem

by Nick Hammond on Jul 13, 2022

Historically, the Everglades Watershed covered well over 10,000 square miles of South Florida.

Despite major habitat loss from human development and natural disasters, the Everglades supports over 2000 groups of organisms including 1033 plant taxa, 60 reptile taxa, 76 mammal taxa, 432 fish taxa, 349 bird taxa and 38 amphibian taxa.

Today we're taking a deeper look at 6 different habitats these species call home.


"There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them."

- Marjory Stoneman Douglas / Journalist, Author, and Conservationist



Pine Flatwoods 

1. Pine Flatwoods

Flatwoods are characterized by slash pines, native palms, and rugged terrain. Situated on top of Florida’s limestone ridges, flatwoods are the most diverse Everglades biome.



Scrub Habitat

2. Scrub Habitat

Scrubs occupy the ecotones (transition zones) between biomes. There are several classifications of Florida scrub habitats, but they are typically characterized by dry sugar sands and desert vegetation.



Hardwood Hammocks

3. Hardwood Hammocks

Dominated by hardwood trees, ferns and other tropical plants thrive in the moister air and shade provided by the thick overhead canopies of hardwood hammocks.



Cypress Domes

4. Cypress Domes

Sitting in the lowest pockets of elevation, cypress domes thrive in completely submerged conditions. Trees that grow in the center of the depression grow taller than the fringe creating a dome like shape to these forests.




5. Wetlands/Floodplains

There are many different types of freshwater wetlands in Florida including swampy sloughs, sawgrass prairies, marl prairies, coastal prairies, and mangrove swamps.

These ecosystems hold valuable water during the dry season and collect excess water in the wet season, preventing flooding. The flow of water through wetland habitat is what keeps our water clean and our ecosystem healthy.



Mangrove Estuary

6. Mangrove Estuary

The Everglades Watershed flows in to coastal marine estuaries dominated by mangrove forest. Florida Bay, the final stop along the Everglades flow is a rich and diverse ecosystem that houses fresh, salt, and brackish water species such as wading birds, fish, mammals, and even saltwater crocodiles!

Through our Buy One, Plant One® initiative we're working to replant and restore mangrove ecosystems not just here in Florida but across the globe. Learn more about our planting efforts as we work to change the world, by heading over to Our Mission page.

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