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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapCEC Code‡
Southern Florida Coastal Plain15.4.1

† Status: ✓ = Complete ○ = Needs Image … = Incomplete ∅ = Stub Only

This code refers to the CEC's Level 3 ecoregion codes for North America, see here.


Partially Complete
With Images
Complete w/ Images

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About the Everglades

The Everglades are a level 2 ecoregion located in southern Florida. They represent the only example of a Tropical Wet Forest in the continental U.S. This region is named for the Everglades, a region of tropical wetlands dominating this area, but the ecoregion also includes significant areas outside this park, including the Miami metro area, and the islands constituting the Florida Keys.

The climate here is intermediate between a tropical monsoon climate and a tropical savannah climate. Temperatures are warm year-round, with only slightly cooler winters. The area never experiences frost. Precipitation is high in summer, and lower in winter. Hurricanes are frequent.

The topography here is extremely flat, yet subtle differences in elevation can produce profound differences in ecosystem or cover type. The region includes wet prairies, marshes, cypress swamps, coastal and estuarine mangrove forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, open pinelands, and numerous bodies of water, the largest being Lake Okeechobee at the northern border of this region. On the richest sites, hurricanes limit the height of tree growth, but on upland sites it can be moisture-limited, particularly on rocky and sandy soils that are poor at retaining water, creating fire-prone pine forests or savannahs.

A large portion of this region is preserved as parks and nature preserves, including the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, and Biscayne National Park, and numerous other preserves. However, the region also has significant cropland, mostly located to the east of the Everglades, and south of Lake Okeechobee. It also contains the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area, the largest metro area in Florida and 7th largest in the U.S.

This region borders only one other level II ecoregion, the Southeast USA Coastal Plains to the north. The border or transition is gradual, and is mostly characterized by the presence of frost limiting plant growth as one moves north and leading to a subtropical, rather than fully tropical climate.