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Southwestern Appalachians

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapEPA Code*
Cumberland Plateau68a
Sequatchie Valley68b
Plateau Escarpment68c
Southern Table Plateaus68d
Dissected Plateau68e
Shale Hills68f

* This code refers to the US EPA's Level 4 ecoregion codes for the continental U.S., see here.

About the Southwestern Appalachians

The Southwestern Appalachians is the southwesternmost portion of the Appalachians, stretching from northern Alabama, northeast through Tennessee into a small portion of Kentucky. It makes up only a small portion of each of these states.

The climate here is humid and subtropical, with hot, humid summers and relatively mild winters. The terrain in this region is locally variable, with gently rolling plateaus, only weakly dissected in some areas, but deeply dissected and opening into rugged hills in others. Some areas have steep cliffs and gorges.

At higher elevations, the forest here consists mostly of a mixture of oaks, especially white oak and southern red oak, with shortleaf pine and some hickories. Some mixed mesophytic forests can be found in the deepest ravines and steepest slopes, but most of this forest type occurs farther north. The mixed mesophytic forest here includes maple, buckeye, American beech, various ash, American basswood, sweetgum, and various oaks.

This area is mostly still forested, although there is some agriculture, with major crops being soybean, corn, hay, wheat, and tobacco. At the southern end of this region these is some poultry and egg production. There is also some coal mining here. There are no large cities here but are quite a few towns and small cities.


1. Wiken, E., Griffith, G. "North American Terrestrial Ecoregions - Level III", Commission for Environmental Cooperation, (2011) Web.