Swamp Uplands

A vertical rise of 2.5 feet separate the swamp’s lowest habitats from its high ground. Nose-bleeding country by no stretch, pinelands and hammocks are islands of higher and “drier” ground in the swamp. See more habitats:  Cypress domes | Strands and sloughsSwamp mosaic?Flood and fire | Marl Prairies | UplandsBotany | Alligators and more | Life cycle of a pond apple | mangroves

strands and sloughs

“Flat swamp” theory

Everyone thinks the swamp is flat.

But is it really?

Surrounding this tiny island
is 2 feet deep slough

Even in the deepest slough …

I was surprised to find tiny hills of dry land.

The source?

Overturned trees cause roots and peat to locally pop up.

Can you see how this uprooted tree
created both hills and trenches?

Meanwhile, that same effect also causes deeper trenches to form.

Or in other words, better watch where you step!

There’s nothing flat about slogging in a water-filled swamp.

“Dotted line” in the swamp
People love them but water could care less

Maps are full of dotted lines …

That are all but invisible out in the swamp.

The Pinecrest chain of hammocks
is a linear run of high ground that marks
the transition between the Everglades
and the Big Cypress Swamp,
looking north

That’s what makes the Pinecrest chain of hammocks …

Stand out so much.

The chain of hammocks are not contingous,

But they more or less run along a straight line.

At about the same spot,
looking south

Best of all you can actually see them.

Unlike all those imaginary political dotted lines.

(Not so) subtle subsidence

South of the Lake, the oldest houses are on stilts …

As a result of land subsidence due to oxidation of the farmed peat.

The Lake used to naturally flow south. 
Now it’s stuck behind a levee except
for a few gates.

That in part explains why the levee is so tall:

Forty two feet above sea level and 143 miles around.

Subsidence also explains why south Florida uses water pumps.

Water no longer gravity drains like it once did.

Subsidence is hard to imagine, let alone see.

But there’s nothing subtle about its impact on the Everglades.