Hardwood hammock

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INTRODUCTION
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Temperate hardwood forests, or hammocks as they are often called in Florida,occur along the coastal plain of the southeastern U.S. from the Carolinas to eastern Texas.  Hammocks are typically narrow bands of vegetation, only a few hundred meters wide, confined to slopes betweenupland sandhill/clayhill pinelands and bottomland forests.  In Florida, the largest temperate hardwood communities occur near Brooksville, Gainesville, and Ocala.
In North Florida, mixedevergreen-deciduous hammocks contain the largest numbers of tree and shrub species per unit area in the continental U.S.
In South Florida, hammocks have a greater percentage of evergreen trees, primarily tropicalspecies; as well as the largest numbers of epiphytic ferns, bromeliads, and orchids in the continental U.S. 
Florida hardwood hammocks are theoretically delineated according to soil moisture. Hammocks are often designated as: 
* Xeric - dry soil
* Mesic - moderately moist soil
* Hydric - wet soil
However, these forests are more often defined by their location and vegetationthan by measures of soil moisture.

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Tropical hardwood hammocks occupy elevated, relatively fire-free sites in all three major rockland areas, and are usually small patches ofbroad-leaved forest surrounded by other vegetation types. 

Hammocks are broad-leaved, evergreen forests composed primarily of trees common to the Bahamas and Greater Antilles.  These forests have a greatdiversity of orchids, bromeliads and ferns (tropical epiphytes - plants that grow on trees).  More than 150 species of trees and shrubs are native to the rockland hammocks of Dade, Monroe and Colliercounties.
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The structure and composition of tropical Rockland hammocks are variable and are influenced by regional gradients of rainfall, minimum temperature, disturbances (fire and hurricanes),...
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