Along the edges of the Barnegat Bay watershed, remnants of the Maritime Forest plant community have survived intense development pressures from as early as colonial times when substantial areas of Maritime Forest were cleared for coastal farms and homesteads.
The Maritime Forest plant community is characterized by a slightly more luxuriant and taller climax forest than that of Pine Oak or Oak Pine Forests found further inland. Contributing factors are slightly increased soil fertility, and in some instances, decreased forest fire frequency than has been experienced in the heart of the Pine Barrens.
Characteristic trees of the Maritime Forest include, Sour Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Swamp Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and Red Maple (Acer rubrum). Shrubs characteristic of the Maritime Forest include, Choke Berry (Prunus maritime), Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), and Poison Ivy (Toxicodendrom radicans).
This information was used with permission from “The Maritime Forest – A Curriculum Guide” by Terry O’Leary, Natural Resource Education Foundation of New Jersey