Part of Florida’s Adventure Coast is defined as a Temperate Hardwood Forest or “Hammock.” This shady habitat contains a rich diversity of trees, shrubs and wildlife. In Florida, the largest temperate hardwood communities occur near Brooksville, Gainesville and Ocala.
What is a hammock anyway?
Hammock refers to stands of trees that form an ecological island within a contrasting ecosystem. Hammocks grow on elevated areas, often just a few inches high, surrounded by wetlands or on slopes between wetlands and uplands. Some records of the English language indicate initial use of “Hammock” as a nautical term for a tree-covered island or mound of trees seen on the horizon.
Temperate Hardwood Hammocks are narrow bands of mixed flora such as live oaks and cabbage palms. These closed canopy forests benefit from humidity and moist soil, providing an important habitat for many plant and animal species. The temperate hammocks throughout Florida’s Adventure Coast represent a broad transitional zone within the center of the state peninsula. Area landscapes include a blend of both mixed hardwoods from the panhandle and the tropical forests of southern Florida. Temperate Hardwood Hammocks are just one of the reasons Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee is Nature’s Place to Play. Read this story about two short nearby hikes that reveal much of what makes our natural landscape so special.
Visit the Weekiwachee Preserve to view more hardwood hammocks and other natural habitats.
This 11,000 acre preserve is home to the elusive black bear and provides multiple habitats including dense hardwood swamps, freshwater and saltwater marshes and pine-covered sandhills. The preserve has 5.5 miles of paved and hard-packed trails and 4.3 miles of scenic marked forest roads. On the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, visitors may drive in through the Osowaw Boulevard gate and park at the end of the paved 1.3-mile road.
Step outside today and view these natural landscapes unique to Florida's Adventure Coast.