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Maritime Forest

Woodlands near the ocean are called “maritime forest.” The trees and scrub vegetation have well developed root systems that spread out and can survive in sandy soil. The best place on Fripp to observe a maritime forest is along the Audubon Trail (the entrance is located on Porpoise Drive near the turn to Fairway Club Road).

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Live oaks, pines, palms, and magnolias grow in dense clusters in the maritime forest and provide habitat for wildlife. Lush vines are intertwined with the trees, increasing the density of the forest. The limbs of live oaks and tall pines intertwine to form a dense green blanket, or “canopy,” which provides shade, cools the ground and helps retain moisture.

The understory of the maritime forest is an array of hardy scrubs. These include saw palms, dwarf oaks, wax myrtle, holly, and red bay. Scrubs can also be found along the edges of the maritime forest. Their twisted branches are shaped by strong winds from the sea.

Many mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects spend their entire lives in the maritime forest. They find food from the acorns of live oak trees and berries from the scrubs as well as many safe places for nesting and breeding.

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