Salt marsh
Betsy Purdum

Salt Marsh

The natural community of the largest extent on Guana River is salt marsh, a highly productive community that begins at headwaters of tidal creeks and drains, and gradually slopes downward toward the subtidal zone of associated rivers. This community is dominated by smooth cordgrass.

 

Pines
Justin Ellenberger

Pine Flatwoods

Some botanists believe that most of the Guana peninsula was once covered with slash and pond pines. Currently pine flatwoods are primarily limited to the western, central, and northern portions of the area. Pine stands are also found on marsh islands within the salt marshes along the Tolomato River. Scattered pines and small stands can also be found within the maritime forests, with older stands having been invaded and replaced by hardwoods. Many of the pines were logged about 40 years ago. In 1978, slash pine plantations were established on about a third of the pine area.

 

Maritime Forest Hammocks

Hammoxk
Betsy Purdum

Extensive stands of oak hammock are located along the uplands adjacent to the west boundary of Lake Ponte Vedra. The maritime forest is a broad-leaved evergreen forest shaped by wind and salt spray and characterized by "flag-form" trees such as those along Lake Ponte Vedra. The overstory consists of live oak, laurel oak, slash pine, southern red cedar, cabbage palm, pignut hickory, southern magnolia, and red bay. The understory varies from dense stands of saw palmetto to relatively open grassy areas with a few low shrubs.

 

Scrub
Betsy Purdum

Scrub

Several stands of scrub exist within the WMA, probably representing a formerly more extensive stand of Atlantic coastal scrub. The scrub on Guana River is dominated primarily by oaks of various heights, ages, and densities.



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