Begins on the lee side of oceanfront dunes, shell mounds and coastal berms and extends as far inland as suitable conditions allow. Soils vary in pH from neutral to moderately alkaline and consist of sand and shell fragments. Fertility and moisture retention are good due to surface litter and humus accumulation. Slopes and ridges are well drained, while flats and swales may retain water for some time; plant distribution will reflect these different conditions. Maritime hammock plants tolerate moderate amounts of salt, wind, drought and some shade. Species of tropical origin occur in warmer areas and temperate species in colder zones. Some trees listed as understory function as canopy in the coppice forest closest to the coast.