Great Smoky Mountains National Park is
located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The park was established in 1934 and encompasses more than
200,000 ha (494,211 acres) of contiguous and relatively undisturbed forest in both states, making it the largest such forest in the eastern United States. Approximately one-fifth of the park comprises old-growth forest and represents the largest tract of old-growth forest in the southern Appalachians. The diverse and expansive forest is one of the world?s most significant temperate deciduous forests and has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. Peak elevation is 2,026 m (6,647 feet) on Clingman?s Dome.

Ornithological Summary

The Park includes over 80% of the spruce-fir forest in the southern Appalachians and associated bird species (Criteria 3). Approximately 80% of the breeding bird species are neotropical migrants. The site likely holds the largest concentration of Northern Saw-whet Owls in the southeast and the majority of the Black-capped Chickadees along the Blue Ridge. This is probably one of the best sites in the southern Appalachians for Olive-sided Flycatcher. The site holds substantial populations of listed, Watchlist and species of concern. The Park has a long history of research and monitoring, dating back almost 60 years (Criteria 5).

Conservation Issues

Air pollution, natural pests and disease, introduced plants and animals, residential and commercial
development (outside park), recreational development, and overuse.

The combination of air pollution and exotic insect infestations threaten the spruce-fir forests. Introduced plants and animals have caused significant changes in habitat.


The site is in federal ownership and is protected and managed by the National Park Service.


Spruce-fir forest, mountain bald, cove hardwood forest, northern hardwood forest, mixed mesophytic forest.

Land Use

Conservation, recreation and tourism.

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