Atlantic Coastal Plain Blackwater Stream Floodplain Forest

This ecological system is most abundant in the Carolinas and is found on floodplains of small streams that carry little mineral sediment. These are called blackwater streams, and have their headwaters in sandy portions of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The water is usually strongly stained by tannins but does not carry much, if any, clay sediment. Soils are usually strongly acidic. Flooding duration may be long to short depending on the gradient. Some small blackwater streams have most of their flow from sandhill seepage and have fairly constant water levels. Vegetation consists almost entirely of forests of wetland trees, but small shrubby sloughs may also be present. Trees present include bald-cypress and swamp tupelo. Other examples have mixtures of these species with oaks and other bottomland hardwoods tolerant of blackwater conditions. Species richness is lower than in comparable brownwater systems. The flooding regime may be the most important factor separating this from adjacent systems. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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