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Ecoregions of Tennessee

This classification is based largely off of the earlier work by the Environmental Protection Agency to classify the ecoregions of Tennessee (Griffith et al. 1998). We recognized that some of the ecoregions recognized for adjacent states in later publications were not recognized in the original EPA classification for TN. Discrepencies were identified between the Tennessee classification and those of adjoining states. Additionally, we also have identified areas within Tennessee that we have determined should be segregated as distinct ecoregions that were not previously recognized by Griffith et al. (1998) (e.g. Nashville Basin Knobs). Most of our revisions pertain to the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee.  Many of the Level IV ecoregions recognized in Alabama and Mississippi were truncated just north of the Tennessee-Mississippi state line. Our concepts differ from those of Griffith et al. (1998) and based on patterns of vegetation and flora we have extended a number of these ecoregions farther northward in the state and in some cases all the way to and beyond the Kentucky-Tennessee state line (e.g. Flatwoods Ecoregion). Finally, we have renamed some of the ecoregions because names originally given to them by Griffith et al. (1998) are unwieldy. We advocate that our suggested names (where different from the EPA classification) be used within Tennessee. Below, we present updated descriptions of the revised Level IV ecoregions of Tennessee [each is listed within its respective Level III ecregion (bolded names) which still follows Griffith et al. (1998)]. For newly recognized ecoregions we provide a justification for why we have chosen to recognize it and we also provide a rationale in cases where our classification differs from that of Griffith et al. (1998). 

Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Northern Holocene Meander Belts

Northern Pleistocene Valley Trains

Northern Backswamps

Mississippi Valley Loess Plains

Loess Plain

Bluff Hills

Loess Plain Meander Belts

Southeastern Plains


Northern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain

Flatwoods

Pontotoc Ridge

Black Belt

Fall Line Hills

Transition Hills

Interior Plateau

Dissected Western Highland Rim

Undissected Western Highland Rim

Outer Nashville Basin

Inner Nashville Basin

Nashville Basin Knobs

Western Pennyroyal Karst Plain

Greensburg Uplands

Dissected Eastern Highland Rim

Eastern Highland Rim

Southwestern Appalachians

Cumberland Plateau

Plateau Escarpment

Sequatchie Valley

Crab Orchard Mountains

Southern Table Plateau

Central Appalachians

Dissected Appalachian Plateau

Cumberland Mountain Thrust Block

Ridge and Valley

Southern Limestone/Dolomite Valleys and Hills

Southern Shale Valleys

Southern Sandstone Ridges

Southern Dissected Ridges and Knobs

Blue Ridge

High Mountains

Amphibolite Mountains

Sedimentary Mountains

Metasedimentary Mountains

Igneous Mountains

Limestone Valleys and Coves

Broad Basins