The panhandle of Floirda is home to beautiful, relatively intact plant communities. Most noted for our breathtaking beaches, there is also much to explore in the northern part of the Florida panhandle including pine savannahs, grasslands, forests, shrublands, and spectacular waterbodies including spring fed creeks and massive tannin-stained rivers. Perhaps most beloved our are seepage slopes home to several species of charasmatic carnivourus plants including pitcher plants (Sarracenia), sundews (Drosera), butterworts (Pinguicula), and baldder worts (Utricularia).
A discussion of plant communities in the Pensacola area would be incomplete without the brief mention of the critical importance of Fire which has shaped many of our landscapes for millennia. Periodic fire is integral to mainting the structure and biodiversity of many plant communites. Frequent fire reduces the dominance of shrubs that shade our biodiverse groundcover and indeed many plants respond to fire with increased growth, floweing, and seed germination. Fire frequency and intensities depends on plant communities ranging for frequent to infrequent (years to decades) and low and high intesnities (groundcover and canopy fires, respectively)
Below are all the terrestrial plant communities that occur within the Pensacola area. They are heavily based upon the FL Natural Areas Inventory classification of natrual areas in the State of Floirda. A complete description is available for free here ((https://www.fnai.org/). However, we expand on the beach dune concept and others to reflect the unique coastal communities of the Pensacola area. We also include unnatural (novel) areas with unifying characteristics denoted with an asterik (*).
Here we group plant communtieis into coastal, flatwoods, open canopy uplands, closed canopy uplands, river associated, open caopy wetlands, closed canopy wetlands, and shrublands.