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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Cypress Swamps



FIRE IMPACT
Everglades Wetland Fire
© J. S. Levine, NASA

Everglades Wetland Fire


Cypress Swamps:

Fire Impact

  • Fires are a minor threat to cypress swamps due to saturated soils
Cypress tress are able to survive fires with little damage due to the amount of water in the soil. However, during the dry season or times of drought, fire can burn the soil, damaging the roots and killing trees. Fire actually restricts cypress trees from thriving in dry upland areas, limiting them to moist marsh areas.

Fires occasionally burn the edges of cypress swamps, preventing the invasion of other plants into unique habitat. Without occasional fires, the cypress swamp would eventually become a wet forest or bog habitat. During times of drought, fires may burn the rich organic soils found in the interior of cypress swamps. This may result in damage to the cypress roots and deaths of some trees.

Cypress Dome
courtesy Environmental Protection Agency

Cypress Dome


Cypress savannahs are more susceptible to fire damage, however fires rarely kill trees in these habitats due to the small amount of organic matter in the soils.