Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Maritime wooded dune  (S1)



Maritime wooded dunes are found in relatively protected areas of backdune portions of coastal sand dune systems. This community has a densely wooded or woodland thicket structure. Black cherry and other trees attain their greatest height (up to 20 ft. tall) in the most protected areas and grade to a shorter woodland canopy with a dense shrub layer in more exposed areas. Soils are dry to mesic sands (oligotrophic). This is a fairly distinct and very rare community in New Hampshire, and apparently similar to other maritime forests in the region. It is threatened by ongoing developmental and recreational pressures. 

Characteristic vegetation: This community is dominated by a tree canopy of black cherry (Prunus serotina), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), and red maple (Acer rubrum), and occasional pitch pine (Pinus rigida). Other species include poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), dwarf shadbush (Amelanchier stolonifera), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), northern arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum), beach plum (Prunus maritima), and Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana). Prominent exotic species include Morrow's honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) and European barberry (Berberis vulgaris). Common herb species include Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), grove sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora), and starry false Solomon's seal (Maianthemum stellatum).

Many of the woody species of the backdune produce large, edible fruits attractive to coastal birds. These species include dwarf shadbush, black cherry, and beach plum.


A good example of this community occurs at The Sands (Seabrook).

Maritime wooded dunes sometimes occurs as part of larger coastal sand dune systems.


Maritime wooded dune (fringed by salt marsh) at The Sands (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Maritime wooded dune (fringed by salt marsh) at The Sands in Seabroook (photo by Ben Kimball)

Interior of a wooded dune at The Sands (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Interior of a wooded dune at The Sands in Seabrook (photo by Ben Kimball)

Maritime wooded dunes in Seabrook, between the beach and a heavily-ditched portion of Hampton Marsh (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Maritime wooded dunes in Seabrook, between the beach and a heavily-ditched
portion of Hampton Marsh (photo by Ben Kimball)

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