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Classification
Scientific Name: Florida Dry Prairie
Unique Identifier: CES203.380

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Summary: This system, which is endemic to subtropical Florida, is characterized by nearly treeless plains with dense cover of grasses and low shrubs, primarily stunted Serenoa repens and a wide variety of grasses and forbs. Examples occur on flat, low-lying terrain over moderately to poorly drained soils with sandy surfaces overlying organic hardpans or clayey subsoil. This type was historically expansive in several regions of Florida. Early surveyors noted large expanses of this system on the plains near the Kissimmee River, north from Lake Okeechobee, and in the area west of Lake Okeechobee (Fisheating Creek). The original extent has been heavily reduced by clearing for agriculture and conversion for forage production. Intact examples have been further altered by fire suppression which changes the proportion of grasses and shrubs and may further alter species composition. Frequent fires were an important natural process in this system, with an estimated frequency of 1-4 years.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system grades into mesic pine flatwoods and may have nearly identical composition except for the absent or nearly absent overstory layer (Abrahamson and Hartnett 1990, FNAI 1990, Huffman and Judd 1998).

The Florida Gap program recognizes a single map unit which is apparently analogous to this type.


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES411.381 South Florida Pine Flatwoods


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL003796 Sabal palmetto / Serenoa repens Woodland
CEGL004236 Serenoa repens / Aristida beyrichiana Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Herbaceous
Spatial Pattern: Matrix
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Herbaceous  
Short Disturbance Interval  
Graminoid  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Ammodramus savannarum floridanus
  (Florida Grasshopper Sparrow)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered
Antigone canadensis pratensis
  (Florida Sandhill Crane)
G5T2  
Athene cunicularia floridana
  (Florida Burrowing Owl)
G4T3  
Befaria racemosa
  (Tarflower)
G3G4  
Calopogon multiflorus
  (Many-flower Grass-pink)
G2G3  
Deeringothamnus pulchellus
  (Beautiful Pawpaw)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Pteroglossaspis ecristata
  (Giant Orchid)
G2G3  
Puma concolor coryi
  (Florida Panther)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered
Schizachyrium stoloniferum
  (Creeping Bluestem)
G3G4Q  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Befaria racemosa G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ilex glabra G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lyonia fruticosa G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Lyonia lucida G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Quercus minima G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium myrsinites G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Serenoa repens G4 Palm shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vaccinium darrowii G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Andropogon ternarius G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Aristida beyrichiana G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Aristida spiciformis G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Dichanthelium dichotomum var. ensifolium T4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Dichanthelium strigosum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Paspalum setaceum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium stoloniferum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Sorghastrum secundum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Ammodramus savannarum floridanus
  (Florida Grasshopper Sparrow)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered    
Antigone canadensis pratensis
  (Florida Sandhill Crane)
G5T2      
Athene cunicularia floridana
  (Florida Burrowing Owl)
G4T3      
Caracara cheriway
  (Crested Caracara)
G5      
Cryptotis parva
  (North American Least Shrew)
G5      
Elanus leucurus
  (White-tailed Kite)
G5      
Heterodon platirhinos
  (Eastern Hog-nosed Snake)
G5      
Ophisaurus attenuatus
  (Slender Glass Lizard)
G5      
Puma concolor coryi
  (Florida Panther)
G5T1 LE: Listed endangered    
Scalopus aquaticus
  (Eastern Mole)
G5      
Terrapene carolina
  (Eastern Box Turtle)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: FL
Global Range: This system occurs in southern Florida mainly north of the Everglades and Big Cypress area. For instance, it is found on the plains near the Myakka River, Kissimmee River, as well as north of Lake Okeechobee and near Fisheating Creek (west of Lake Okeechobee). This type was historically expansive in several regions of Florida (Harper 1927). For more detail, see map of historic extent in the report of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference (Bridges 2006).

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
55 Florida Peninsula Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
55 Southeastern Coastal Plain Never was there
56 Floridian Coastal Plain Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 7138
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1425
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2425

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 03Jul2014
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans, C.W. Nordman and M. Pyne

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Abrahamson, W. G., and D. C. Hartnett. 1990. Pine flatwoods and dry prairies. Pages 103-147 in: R. L. Myers and J. L. Ewel, editors. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando.

  • Bridges, E. L. 2006. Landscape ecology of Florida dry prairie in the Kissimmee River region. Pages 14-44 in: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of fire and water. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. Painter, DeLeon Springs, FL.

  • Carr, S. C. 2007. Floristic and environmental variation of pyrogenic pinelands in the Southeastern Coastal Plain: Description, classification, and restoration. Dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Duever, L. C., J. F. Meeder, and M. J. Duever. 1982. Ecological portion: Florida peninsula natural region theme study. National Audubon Society Ecosystem Research Unit, Naples, FL.

  • Duever, L. C., and S. Brinson. 1984a. Community element abstracts. Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, Nongame Wildlife Program, Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 200 pp.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. 228 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010e. Dry prairie. In: Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. [http://www.fnai.org/PDF/NC/Dry_Prairie_Final_2010.pdf].

  • Hardin, D. 1990. Guide to the natural communities of Florida. Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, Nongame Wildlife Program, Natural Areas Inventory, and Florida Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee. 111 pp.

  • Harper, R. M. 1927. Natural resources of southern Florida. Pages 27-206 in: 18th Annual Report. Florida Geologic Survey, Tallahassee.

  • Huffman, J. M., and P. A. Werner. 2000. Restoration of Florida pine savanna: Flowering response of Lilium catesbaei to fire and roller-chopping. Natural Areas Journal 20(1):12-23.

  • Huffman, J. M., and S. W. Blanchard. 1990. Changes in woody vegetation in Florida dry prairie and wetlands during a period of fire exclusion, and after dry-growing-season fire. Pages 75-83 in: S. C. Nodvin and T. A. Waldrop, editors. Fire and the environment: Ecological and cultural perspectives. Proceedings of an International Symposium. Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Asheville, NC. 429 pp.

  • Huffman, J. M., and W. S. Judd. 1998. Vascular flora of Myakka River State Park, Sarasota and Manatee counties, Florida. Castanea 63:25-50.

  • Huffman, Jean, Ph.D. Personal communication. Environmental Specialist, St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Apalachicola. FL.

  • Landfire [Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Database]. 2007a. Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Models. Landfire Project, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior. (January - last update) [http://www.LANDFIRE.gov/index.php] (accessed 8 February 2007).

  • Moore, W. H., and B. F. Swindel. 1981. Effects of site preparation on dry prairie vegetation in south Florida. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry 5:89-92.

  • Orzell, S. L., and E. L. Bridges. 2006a. Species composition and environmental characteristics of Florida dry prairies from the Kissimmee River region of south-central Florida. Pages 100-135 in: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of Fire and Water: The Florida Dry Prairie Ecosystem. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. Painter, DeLeon Springs.

  • Orzell, S. L., and E. L. Bridges. 2006b. Floristic composition of the south-central Florida dry prairie landscape. In: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of fire and water: The Florida Dry Prairie Ecosystem. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. Painter Printing Company, DeLeon Springs, FL.

  • Penfield, S. 2006. Notes on some characteristics of lopsided Indian grass (Sorghastrum secundum). In: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of fire and water: The Florida Dry Prairie Ecosystem. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. Painter Printing Company, DeLeon Springs, FL.

  • Platt, W. J., J. M. Huffman, M. G. Slocum, and B. Beckage. 2006a. Fire regimes and trees in Florida dry prairie landscapes. Pages 3-13 in: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of Fire and Water: The Florida Dry Prairie Ecosystem. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. October 5-7, 2004. Chateau Elan - Sebring, FL.

  • Watts, A., G. Tanner, and R. Dye. 2006. Restoration of dry prairies using fire and roller chopping. Pages 8225-8230 in: R. F. Noss, editor. Land of fire and water: The Florida Dry Prairie Ecosystem. Proceedings of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference. Painter Printing Company, DeLeon Springs, FL.


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