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Savannas

Early settlers who crossed parts of the Tennessee landscape described savanna-like scenes--areas with scattered, open-grown oak trees growing above a diverse grassland comprised of a wide variety of native grasses and forbs. Such scenes were described from the Eastern Highland Rim in the area known as The Barrens and they were also described from parts of the Cumberland Plateau. No doubt savannas are probably one of the rarest remaining community types in Tennessee though at one time they may have been one of the more common community types in some areas of the state. Due to the fact that our remaining native grasslands are small in size and are all closely associated with woodlands now, the recognition of savanna remnants has become very challenging. The following savanna types are recognized tentatively with the acknowledgement that these are likely quite different from pre-settlement savannas. They are highlighted however because they are essentially all we have left and studying their modern structure and composition is important to realizing or understanding what was formerly here. 


MISSISSIPPI VALLEY LOESS PLAINS

LOESS PLAIN ECOREGION

  • Loess Plain Savanna

SOUTHEASTERN PLAINS

NORTHERN HILLY GULF COASTAL PLAIN ECOREGION

  • Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain Savanna
BLACK BELT ECOREGION

  • Black Belt Savanna
TRANSITION HILLS ECOREGION

  • Transition Hills Savanna

INTERIOR PLATEAUS

WESTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION

PENNYROYAL PLAIN ECOREGION

EASTERN HIGHLAND RIM ECOREGION

NASHVILLE BASIN ECOREGION

SOUTHWESTERN APPALACHIANS

CUMBERLAND PLATEAU ECOREGION

SEQUATCHIE VALLEY ECOREGION

  • Sequatchie Valley Savanna

RIDGE AND VALLEY

SOUTHERN CALCAREOUS VALLEYS ECOREGION