Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations
Elevations and forest types · By Dirk Frankenberg
Chestnut oak forest
Most of the hardwood forests throughout the Piedmont and lower elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains are classified by ecologists as part of the large and complex Eastern Deciduous Forest biome. This biome covers roughly the eastern third of the United States and includes forest types dominated by trees that drop their leaves in winter — deciduous trees.
The most common component of this biome at low elevations of the Blue Ridge is the chestnut oak forest illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. These forests are usually dominated by one or more of the five different species of oaks that occur here but this forest type also contains pines, tulip poplars, and other trees more commonly found elsewhere.
Figure 1 illustrates a mature example of such a forest near the Folk Art Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Asheville. Note the large mature oaks in the foreground and the presence of a few large pines behind them.