Great smoky mountains national park, twin creeks – grsm neon

5-15/site: Bird Grids consist of 9 sampling points within a 500m x 500m square. Each point is 250m apart. Where possible, Bird Grids are colocated with Distributed Base Plots by placing the Bird Grid center (B2) in close proximity to the center of the Base Plot. At smaller sites, a single point count is done at the south-west corner (point 21) of the Distributed Base Plot.

20-30/site: Tower plots support a variety of plant productivity, plant diversity, soil, biogeochemistry and microbe sampling. The number and size of Tower Base Plots is determined by the vegetation of the tower airshed. In forested sites, twenty 40m x 40m plots are established. In herbaceous sites, thirty 20m x 20m plots are established. Of these thirty tower plots, four have additional space to support soil sampling.


1-2/site: Plant phenology observations are made along a transect loop or plot in or around the primary airshed. When possible, one plot is established north of the tower to calibrate phenology camera images captured from sensors on the tower. If there is insufficient space north of the tower for a 200m x 200m plot or if the vegetation does not match the primary airshed an additional plot is established.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, the lower section in latitude of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which divides the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. Plants and animals common in the country’s Northeast have found suitable ecological niches in the park’s higher elevations, while southern species find homes in the balmier lower reaches. Site history & management

The park was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. It encompasses 814 square miles (2,108 km²), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern U.S.It was the first national park whose land was paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. It is the most visited national park in the U.S., and on its route from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail also passes through the center of the park.

The park normally has very high humidity and precipitation, averaging from 55 inches (1,400 mm) per year in the valleys to 85 inches (2,200 mm) per year on the peaks. This area receives more annual rainfall than anywhere else in the U.S. outside of the Pacific Northwest and parts of Alaska. Most of the park has a humid continental climate more comparable to locations much farther north, as opposed to the humid subtropical climate in the lowlands. Topography

The park is almost 95 percent forested, and almost 36 percent of it, 187,000 acres (760 km2), is estimated by the Park Service to be old growth forest with many trees that predate European settlement of the area. It is one of the largest stands of deciduous, temperate, old growth forest in North America. Over 100 species of trees grow in the park. The lower region forests are dominated by deciduous leafy trees. At higher altitudes, deciduous forests give way to coniferous trees like Fraser Fir. In addition, the park has over 1,400 flowering plant species and over 4,000 species of non-flowering plants.

The variety of elevations, the abundant rainfall, and the presence of old growth forests give Great Smoky Mountain Park an unusual richness of biota. About 10,000 species of plants and animals are known to live in the park, and estimates as high as an additional 90,000 undocumented species may also be present. Park officials count more than 200 species of birds, 66 species of mammals, 50 species of fish, 39 species of reptiles and 43 species of amphibians, including many lungless salamanders. The park has a noteworthy black bear population, numbering at least 1,800. An experimental reintroduction of elk ( wapiti) into the park began in 2001. During the most recent ice age, the northeast-to-southwest orientation of the Appalachian mountains allowed species to migrate southward along the slopes rather than finding the mountains to be a barrier. As climate warms, many northern species are now retreating upward along the slopes and withdrawing northward, while southern species are expanding. Site-specific topics