Terrestrial Habitats

Maritime Forest Habitat

The maritime forests are fully terrestrial habitats, but may have minor marine influences. The island core is vegetated (Coile and Jones, 1988) by a dense deciduous-pine forest with a dense under story of palmetto, shrubs, and grasses. A palm-oak-pine forest is found in the low-standing southeastern part of the Island, again with an under story of palmetto, shrubs, and grasses. This habitat supports numerous mammals (including deer, raccoon, mice, moles, and feral hogs), birds (including passerines, storks, owls, hawks, and eagles), reptiles (alligator, skinks, snakes, and pond turtles), and many insects. Near marine water, semi terrestrial organisms may intrude into the forest, including fiddler and wharf crabs, shore birds, and insects.


The maritime forest along State Road near the North end is an oak-pine-palmetto, old-field succession.


The swales and ridges of the accretional terrains form much of the low-standing part of the Island on the northeast shoulder of St. Catherines Island.

gatorpondThe inter-ridge swales of the Holocene accretionary terrains host a number of ponds and their inhabitants.

The Island is an area that has been intensively cultivated for much of historical time. Many fields are present and now the site of old-field succession consisting largely of pine forest with a palmetto under story. Old field edges are marked by ancient ditches and a much greater diversity of oak-hickory-pine forest and often show bending of trees into former field areas.

Last updated: 6/19/2015

Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island • (912) 478-1744 •