Bottomland Forests

Bottomland forests are found in areas where water is above or near the ground surface for extended periods. According to the North Carolina Forest Service, bottomland forests are estimated to comprise about 13% of North Carolina’s 18.8 million acres of forests. While they only cover a relatively small amount of area in the state, these forests play an important role in protecting water quality, storing flood water and providing habitat to a wide variety of wildlife species as well as recreational opportunities and forest products.


North Carolina’s bottomland and swamp forests are home to a diversity of trees and shrubs that are able to tolerate standing water.


Alternating wet and dry periods make bottomland forests suitable habitat for a variety of wildlife species during each season of the year. The soil in these forests tends to be richer in nutrients than the soil in other types of forests because of a significant leaf litter layer.


Trees in bottomland forests tend to grow slowly, so management is usually more passive and over a longer time period than management in pine or upland hardwood forests.