Home » Regions » North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Southeastern USA Plains » Southeastern Plains » Buhrstone/Lime Hills

Buhrstone/Lime Hills

Page contents

About the Buhrstone/Lime Hills

The Buhrstone/Lime Hills are a small, irregularly-shaped, roughly east-west-oriented region located in southwestern Alabama and eastern Mississippi. The Alabama portion is also known locally as the "Red Hills". This region has some of the most rugged topography anywhere in the usually-flat coastal plain.

This region consists of rolling to strongly dissected open hills; the terrain has an irregular, lumpy shape unlike the dissected plateaus of the Appalachians. There are some flatter bottomlands along the larger streams, although most of the region has moderate-to-higher gradient, rocky-bottomed streams. The region is underlain by a mix of claystone, siltstone, clay, sandy clay, sandstone, limestone, and marl. Many of these substrates are fine-textured and hard, resisting erosion, and the diversity of substrates lead to a highly variable landscape. Soils are diverse, ranging from nutrient-rich to highly-leeched, with some fine-textured soils that expand and contract with changing moisture levels, limiting plant growth. Soils on ridges tend to be well-drained loams and sands, often droughty.

This region was originally covered in oak-hickory-pine forest on the drier, more nutrient-poor sites, and southern mixed forest on the slightly richer sites. Dominant trees on drier sites included white oak (Quercus alba), southern red oak (Quercus falcata), American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), various hickories, and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), with some longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) on the driest and most fire-prone sites. However, the steep north-facing slopes provided cooler microclimates where some more northerly species could survive as well.

Nowadays this area is still mostly forested, and is a mix of wild forests and pine plantations. There are only small areas of agriculture. The region is sparsely populated, with only a few small towns, some of which are unincorporated. Although there is a lot of wild land here, it is mostly privately owned.

This region is bordered to the northeast, and surrounded in the west, by the Southern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain which is a bit flatter and less rugged. It is bordered to the south by the Southern Pine Plains and Hills, which is also somewhat less rugged. Along the broad bottomlands of major rivers, this region is twice interrupted by the Southeastern Floodplains and Low Terraces. In the southwest of this region there is also a very small border to the west with the Jackson Prairie.

References

1. Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Comstock, J.A., Lawrence, S., Martin, G., Goddard, A., Hulcher, V.J., and Foster, T. "Ecoregions of Alabama and Georgia (color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs)", U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (2001) Web.