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Terrestrial Palustrine Estuarine
"The vegetation of terrestrial communitiesis not significantly influenced by standing or moving water" (Swain and Kearsley 2001.) These are the "upland" communities. The palustrine system includes "all freshwater, non-tidal wetlands dominated by trees shrubs, or persistent emergents, including mosses and lichens" (Swain and Kearsley 2001.)

The palustrine system does not include the following: (1) areas with submersed and floating leaved aquatic plants; (2) tidal wetlands, including freshwater tidal wetlands; and (3) riverside communities.
"Estuarine communities are subject to varying salinity, tidal actions, and wind. Estuaries include tidal habitats and adjacent tidal wetlands in which ocean water is at least occasionally diluted by freshwater from the land.

Estuarine areas extend landward and up streams to where oceanic salts (formally defined as above 0.5 ppt salinity in an annual average low flow period) or tides (including freshwater tidal areas) have an influence on the vegetation" (Swain and Kearsley 2001.)


Definitions of these terms and others are taken from A Guide to the Natural Communities of Massachusetts developed by Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.