Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Smoky Mountains straddle the Tennessee-North Carolina border and contain some of the highest elevation forests within the Appalachian Mountains. Today, these forests are protected by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park contains the largest old-growth forests remaining in the eastern United States, as well as many rare and endangered plant and animal species. For more information, visit the National Park Service’s Great Smoky Mountains website.
Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) are large unfragmented forest ecosystems, at least 500 km2 in size, and without roads, logging, or other significant signs of human activity. These areas are large enough to retain all native forest biodiversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species.
The largest intact forest areas are in the tropics (Amazon Basin, Congo Basin, and Southeast Asia) and in boreal forests (Canada, Alaska, and Russia). Within the southern United States, only three intact forest landscapes remain: in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Okefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia, and in southwestern Florida.