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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Upland Hardwoods

This forest is one of the most diverse in the state, because it covers a variety of climates, soils, and moisture conditions. The forest will vary in tree species from north to south Florida, eventually blending into the tropical hammock forest. They even extend into the Appalachian mountains.

These forests are usually found in patches - surrounded by flatwoods and sandhill forests. These soils have more clay and soil nutrients than other forests, and therefore retain more soil moisture. Because many different tree and plant species prefer these forests, there is no one dominant tree that covers this ecosystem.

Excellent trails through hardwood forests and hammocks are available in Florida Caverns State Park, Dead Lakes State Recreation Area, Mike Roess Goldhead Branch State Park, Torreya State Park, Tosohatchee State Reserve, Faver-Dykes State Park, Silver River State Park, San Felasco Hammock State Preserve, Falling Waters State Recreation Area, Wakulla Springs State Park, and Highlands Hammock State Park.

  • For the Contest

    Each year the contest takes on two ecosystems on a four-year rotation. At this station, when upland hardwoods 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 upland hardwoods:

    1) Bluff oak
    2) Carolina laurelcherry
    3) Sparkleberry
    4) Yaupon holly

    Note: bluff oak was added to the upland hardwoods list in 2015, when hophornbeam moved to the tree list

    *Note: the upland hardwoods story and informational text are being revised. Updated versions will be posted for the 2025 contest.