Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been merged as part of the Southern Blue Ridge IBA.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over 800 square miles (521,490 acres) divided almost equally between the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, and is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The uninterrupted chain of mountains range to 6,643 feet and for 36 miles the crest of the range remains more than 5,000 feet above sea level, including 16 peaks over 6,000 feet. Precipitation levels are among the highest on the North American continent, with annual averages of 85 inches in parts of the park
. The extraordinary biodiversity of the Great Smokies is world-renowned, as reflected in its designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. Every major eastern forest type can be found within the Park's boundaries. The park's 1,637 vascular plant species include over 130 species of trees, and 60-70 distinct vegetative communities. At lower elevations, forest of Tulip Poplar dominate large areas that historically were farmed. In sheltered rich coves (typically with northerly aspects), Yellow Buckeye, Sugar Maple, White Basswood, and Tulip Popular dominate the overstory. In coves with steeper v-shaped drainages, Silver Bell and hemlock dominate the canopy and rhododendron often forms a thick, impenetrable understory. Drier slopes (south and west facing) are dominated by Chestnut Oak with a mountain laurel understory. Dry ridges typically have a large component of pine (Pitch, Shortleaf, Virginia, and Table Mountain) and dray site oaks (Chestnut, Scarlet, and Black). At higher elevations, the northern hardwood forest is prevalent, which is composed of Sugar Maple, Yellow Buckeye, Yellow Birch, and American Beech. At the highest elevations, Red Spruce forests (above 5,200 feet) and Red Spruce-Fraser Fir forests (above 6,000 feet) dominate.

Ornithological Summary

The park supports 230 species of birds of which 110 species breed. Two hundred species have been documented in recent years, including one of the highest diversities of breeding neotropical migratory birds of any area in the United States. In some habitats, over 80 percent of the breeding bird community is made up of neotropical migrants. Part of the reason for such diversity of neotropical migrants may be due to the invertebrate diversity. This is still being studied, but numbers in well-known groups are already impressive, including 1,500 species of beetles and 1,000 species of lepidopterans. Northern Harrier, is found in small numbers as migrants or wintering individuals. Swainson's Warbler has been found regularly during the breeding season at Schoolhouse Gap Trail, 2002-2005. There were 21 sightings ranging from north of Abrams Creek to the Albright Grove. Two nests of the Peregrine Falcon occur in the park. One nest on the side of Mount LeConte has been monitored since 1997. A second nest has been monitored since 2003. These areas and one other are the only known nesting locations in Tennessee for the species.

Northern Saw-whet Owl is found year-round in the park, at higher elevations in summer and lower in winter. No nest has been documented but there were two young fledglings in Cosby Campground, but it cannot be certain they did not fly in from outside of the park.
Common Raven is found year-round in small numbers in the higher elevations and lower during the winter. Two nest sites are known. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is present in the park during the breeding season and assumed breeding. There have been no confirmed nest sites since the 1940's. Black-capped Chickadee occurs regularly at higher elevations year-round and lower in winter.

Habitats of an exceptional representative of a natural habitat are numerous in the park. These range from Heath Balds; to 60,000 acres of old growth forests, the largest in the eastern United States (National Park Service 2001); to mature deciduous forests; to spruce-fir forests that contain 75% of the world's Fraser Fir; to grass balds; and to cove hardwoods.

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