This national forest includes approximately 155,650 acres of rolling forested hills planted in the 1930s to Yellow Pine, mostly with much natural hardwood incursion. It is approximately sixty-five percent pine, twenty-nine percent hardwood (Oak-Hickory and other), and ten percent mixed forest. The forest also includes a scattering of lakes/ponds and associated wetlands created by flood control projects and alongside creeks and rivers in the forests. Bagley Bottoms is a unique conservation site consisting of several hundred acres and there is also a unique and rare 10 acre Bald Cypress swamp site on the forest. As many as 50 or more species of neotropical migrants and non-neotropical birds have been observed during four years of breeding bird surveys. Not included, because of lack of census, are many species of waterfowl/wetland birds using Bagley Bottoms, Chewalla and Puskus Lakes as well as the many small beaver ponds and flood control water storage projects. Many of these areas also support and are managed for recreational fishing.
Forty-eight species of birds are found on this site: Black-and-White Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Kentucky Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Prairie Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Vireo, American Robin, Chipping Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Summer Tanager, American Crow, Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Brown-headed Cowbird.
Breeding season point counts have been conducted since 1999.