Louisiana Wetlands

Definition of Swamp

A swamp is any wetland dominated by woody plants.  Plants, birds, fish, and invertebrates such as freshwater shrimp, crayfish, and clams require the habitats provided by swamps. Many rare species, such as the endangered American crocodile depend on these ecosystems as well. Swamps may be divided into two major classes, depending on the type of vegetation present: shrub swamps, and forested swamps.

Types of Swamps

Forested Swamps

Forested swamps are found throughout the United States. They are often inundated with floodwater from nearby rivers and streams. Sometimes, they are covered by many feet of very slowly moving or standing water.

Shrub Swamps

Shrub swamps, are similar to forested swamps, except that shrubby vegetation such as buttonbush, willow, dogwood, and swamp rose predominates. In fact, forested and shrub swamps are often found adjacent to one another. The soil is often water logged for much of the year, and covered at times by as much as a few feet of water because this type of swamp is found along slow moving streams and in floodplains. Mangrove swamps are a type of shrub swamp dominated by mangroves that covers vast expanses of southern Florida.

Owl

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