Wet Prairies

Wet prairie is a habitat found in flat or gently sloping areas with wet, but not inundated, soils. The length of time that soils are flooded ranges from 3-7 months each year. Often wet prairie is found between lower lying depression marshes or swamps and slightly higher pine flatwoods. Natural fires enter wet prairies from surrounding pine flatwoods and help prevent the establishment of cypress (Taxodium spp.) from adjacent swamps.

Concurrently, pines (Pinus elliotti var. densa) from adjacent flatwoods do not encroach upon the wet prairie because of wet soil conditions. The exclusion of either tree-dominated community results in a habitat of mostly emergent plants and grasses. Wiregrass (Aristida stricta var. beyrichiana), Sugercane Plumegrass (Saccharum giganteum), and Marsh Cordgrass (Spartina bakeri), often with scattered Coastal Plain Willow (Salix caroliniana) and other shrubs dominate the wet prairie.

Due to close proximity to other types of habitats, wet prairies attract a variety of wildlife common to both the drier upland pine flatwoods and the wetter cypress swamps.

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