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Barrens

Barrens as recognized here include areas dominated by grasses and herbs that develop on rocky sites where growth of trees is inhibited or slowed due to edaphic conditions such as shallow soils over bedrock, high degree of exposed surface rock, or steep easily erodible slopes. Some sites in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina also fit the definition of Barrens as used here. They are maintained by serpertine soils which are high in magnesium and whose high levels are toxic to many plants. Some authors have used the name Xeric Limestone Prairie for grasslands that occur on sloping rocky sites over limestone or dolomite. I prefer to restrict the term prairie to open, level to gently undulating and deep-soiled communities. Barrens are distinguished from glades by their usually sloping nature, deeper soils, smaller amount of exposed bedrock, and dominance by perennial grasses (vs. annual grasses in glades). Barrens are found in the Western Valley, the Highland Rim, Nashville Basin, Cumberland Plateau, and Ridge and Valley. 

Mississippi Valley Loess Plains

LOESS PLAIN ECOREGION

  • Loess Plain Sand Barrens

SOUTHEASTERN PLAINS

BLACK BELT ECOREGION

  • Black Belt Calcareous Marl Barrens

INTERIOR PLATEAUS

WESTERN VALLEY ECOREGION

WESTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION

NASHVILLE BASIN ECOREGION

CUMBERLAND ENCLAVE ECOREGION

SOUTHWESTERN APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ESCARPMENT ECOREGION

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ECOREGION

  • Cumberland Plateau Sandstone Barren*

SEQUATCHIE VALLEY ECOREGION

RIDGE AND VALLEY

SOUTHERN CALCAREOUS VALLEYS ECOREGION

SHALE VALLEYS ECOREGION

DISSECTED RIDGES ECOREGION