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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Pine Flatwoods 

Pine flatwoods represent the most extensive type of terrestrial ecosystem in Florida, covering approximately 50 percent of the natural land area in the state. These low-lying pine forests were formed by changes in the sea level during glacial times. As sea levels increased vast expanses of flat land were flooded, thick layers of sand were deposited on the land. As the sea levels receded early, pioneer species such as pine trees were able to establish in the sandy soil.

Flatwoods - also called pine flats or pine barrens - once covered much of the land in Florida, and had such open understories that it was said you could drive a wagon through them. While today's pine flatwoods are less extensive and have more shrubby groundcover, they still cover vast land areas, and play an important role in Florida's natural environment and economy.

Many valuable products come from pine flatwoods. The trees are cut and used as timber or pulp to make paper products. The sap, resins, and cellulose from the trees are used in the production of many everyday items such as soap, cosmetics, perfume, shampoo, chewing gum, rayon, ice cream, varnish, and paint thinner.

  • For the Contest

    Each year the contest takes on two ecosystems on a four-year rotation. At this station, when pine flatwoods is one of the featured ecosystems:

    • Juniors and Intermediates will answer multiple choice/true false questions about each ecosystem.
      • To prepare, Juniors should read the ecosystem story; Intermediates should read the ecosystem description*. 
    • Intermediates will be asked multiple choice/true false questions that reference identifying characteristics of the four representative plant species for pine flatwoods:

    1) hawthorn
    2) gallberry
    3) flatwoods plum
    4) fetterbush

    Story for Juniors - This is Bear Country

    Pine Flatwoods Description