Swamps, marshes and prairies are a common part of the landscape of Florida. They are important for several reasons including flood control, water storage and supply and providing a habitat for fish and wildlife. Swamps differ from marshes because of their hydro period (length of time they are submerged in water) and the type of trees, and vegetation that grows there. Swamps and Marshes covered half of Florida at one time but they have been reduced by over 50% because of the urbanization of the land and uses for farming and livestock. Florida’s swamps are dominated by woody vegetation (trees) as opposed to marshes which are dominated by herbaceous vegetation such as low growing shrubs and grasses. Swamps are biologically more diverse than marshes and therefore are home to a greater variety of fish and animals. Swamps are located in depressions in the land and have standing water in them for over half of the year. Bald Cypress, Pond Cypress, Tupelo and Pine trees are common in swamp land and forests. Hammocks are protrusions of land from the swamp that may hold a group of trees and wildlife that prefer a dryer soil bed. Some of the larger swamps that remain in Florida are The Everglades National Park http://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm
The Big Cypress National Preserve http://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm The Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/areas/greenswamp.html and the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. http://corkscrew.audubon.org/
Florida Master Naturalist Program – classes taught by instructors in wetlands, coastal systems and uplands.