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Forests

Forests, along with woodlands, are tree-dominated communities. They differ from woodlands in having a relatively closed canopy with a coverage of 75-100% and generally taller stature. They often contain subcanopies and distinct shrub layers. Herbaceous species in forests tend to support more spring-flowering herbs, ferns, bryophytes, and a better developed litter and humus layer. Forests are found generally in dissected landscapes and occupy sites that are generally naturally protected from frequent fire such as gorges, ravines, steep slopes, riparian areas, stream bottoms, and high-elevation slopes subjected to high rainfall and cloud cover. Forests of relatively dry environments such as hill tops, upper side slopes and broad flat terrains can be difficult to distinguish from woodlands. Some "forests" in terrains that are able to carry fire easily may have been woodlands in pre-settlement times but have developed a "forest" physiognomy in response to prolonged fire suppression in combination with past land uses and logging.

Forests represent the most diverse class of Tennessee vegetation types and different types are often strongly correlated with landscape position, bedrock geology, soils, pH, moisture, and fire frequency and intensity. 

The many forest types of Tennessee are classified below:

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY LOESS PLAINS

Mississippi Alluvial Plain (NORTHERN HOLOCENE MEANDER BELT)

Mississippi Alluvial Plain (PLEISTOCENE VALLEY TRAINS)

  • needs assessment

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY LOESS PLAINS

BLUFF HILLS ECOREGION

LOESS PLAIN MEANDER BELT ECOREGION

LOESS PLAIN ECOREGION


  • Loess Plain Mesic Lower Slope/Ravine Sand Forest
  • Loess Plain Submesic Mid-Slope Sand Forest
  • Loess Plain Dry Mid-Upper Slope/Ridgetop Sand Forest

SOUTHEASTERN PLAINS

TERTIARY FLATWOODS ECOREGION

  • Tertiary Flatwoods Toe Slope/High Floodplain Mesic Forest
  • Tertiary Flatwoods Mesic Low Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Tertiary Flatwoods Submesic Slope Forest
  • Teritary Flatwoods Dry/Subxeric Upper Slope/Ridgetop Forest
BLACK BELT ECOREGION

  • Black Belt Mesic Calcareous Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest
  • Black Belt Mesic Calcareous Lower Slope/Ravine Forest                                                                                            
  • Black Belt Submesic Calcareous Slope Forest
  • Black Belt Dry/Xeric Calcareous Upper Slope/Ridgetop Forest

  • Black Belt Mesic Subacidic Lower Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Black Belt Submesic Subacidic Slope Forest
  • Black Belt Dry/Subxeric Subacidic Slope/Ridgetop Forest                                                                                           

NORTHERN HILLY GULF COASTAL PLAIN ECOREGION
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Mesic Calcareous Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Mesic Calcareous Low Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Submesic Calcareous Slope Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Dry/Subxeric Calcareous Slope Forest

  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Mesic Acidic Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Mesic Acidic Low Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Submesic Acidic Slope Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Dry Acidic Slope Forest
  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Xeric Acidic Slope/Ridgetop Forest
FALL LINE HILLS ECOREGION
  • Fall Line Hills Mesic/Submesic Circumneutral/Basic Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest

  • Fall Line Hills Mesic Acidic Toe Slope/High Floodplain Acidic Forest
  • Fall Line Hills Mesic Acidic Ravine/Lower Slope Forest
  • Fall Line Hills Submesic Acidic Slope Forest  
  • Fall Line Hills Dry Acidic Upper Slope/Ridgetop Forest
  • Fall Line Hills Xeric Acidic Upper Slope/Ridgetop Forest                                                                                
TRANSITION HILLS ECOREGION

  • Transition Hills Mesic Calcareous Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest
  • Transition Hills Mesic Calcareous Low Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Transition Hills Submesic Calcareous Slope Forest
  • Transition Hills Dry/Subxeric Calcareous Slope Forest

  • Transition Hills Mesic Acidic Toe Slope/High Floodplain Forest
  • Transition Hills Mesic Acidic Low Slope/Ravine Forest
  • Transition Hills Submesic Acidic Slope Forest
  • Transition Hills Dry Acidic Slope Forest
  • Transition Hills Xeric Acidic Slope/Ridgetop Forest

INTERIOR PLATEAUS

WESTERN VALLEY ECOREGION

WESTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION



PENNYROYAL PLAIN ECOREGION


NASHVILLE BASIN ECOREGION

NASHVILLE BASIN KNOBS ECOREGION


CUMBERLAND ENCLAVE ECOREGION

  • Cumberland Enclave Limestone Cliff
  • Cumberland Enclave Shaley-Limestone Cliff
EASTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION

SOUTHWESTERN APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ESCARPMENT ECOREGION

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ECOREGION

CRAB ORCHARD MOUNTAINS

SEQUATCHIE VALLEY ECOREGION

CENTRAL APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS

CUMBERLAND MOUNTAIN THRUSTBLOCK ECOREGION

RIDGE AND VALLEY

SOUTHERN CALCAREOUS VALLEYS ECOREGION

SHALE VALLEYS ECOREGION

DISSECTED RIDGES ECOREGION

SANDSTONE RIDGES ECOREGION

BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS 

SEDIMENTARY MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

METASEDIMENTARY MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

IGNEOUS MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

AMPHIBOLITE MOUNTAINS ECOREGION

DOLOMITE COVES ECOREGION