Piney Woods

Piney Woods

The Piney Woods is a terrestrial ecoregion in the Southern United States covering 54,400 mi² (140,900 km²) of East Texas, Southern Arkansas, Western Louisiana, and Southeastern Oklahoma. This coniferous forest, is dominated by several species of pine, including Longleaf Pine, Shortleaf Pine and Loblolly Pine, as well as several varieties of hardwoods including Hickory and Oak. The World Wide Fund for Nature considers the Piney Woods to be one of the critically endangered ecoregions of the United States. [ [ World Wildlife Fund Scientific Report on Piney Woods forests (NA0523)] ]


The Piney woods cover an area of 140,900 square kilometers (54,400 square miles) of eastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana, southwestern Arkansas and the southeastern corner of Oklahoma. [ [ World Wildlife Fund Scientific Report on Piney Woods forests (NA0523)] ] They are bounded on the east by the Mississippi lowland forests, on the south by the Western Gulf coastal grasslands, on the west by the East Central Texas forests and the Texas blackland prairies, on the northwest by the Central forest-grasslands transition, and on the north by the Ozark Mountain forests.


The region has heavy to moderate rainfall, with some places receiving over 60 in (1525 mm) of rain per year. Many deciduous trees such as Magnolia, Sweet gum, Tupelo, and Yaupon Holly, in addition to hickories and oaks, can be found among pines. Wisteria is also commonplace and can cover entire groves of trees in the wild. Flowering species of tree, such as Dogwood and the Eastern Redbud are also now common in the wild.

Two varieties of wetlands are common in the Piney Woods: bayous are generally found near rivers and sloughs which are generally found near creeks. In bayous Bald cypress and Spanish moss, as well as the non-native Lily pad, are common plants. Sloughs are shallow pools of standing water that most trees are capable of growing in, and other species such as the Purple bladderwort, a small carnivorous plant, have found a niche in sloughs.

Hearty species of Prickly pear cactus and Yucca can be found both in the forests and wetlands.

The indigenous Texas trailing phlox is an endangered species.


Mammals such as Eastern Cottontail rabbits, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Opossums, Armadillos, White-tailed Deer, Cougars, Foxes, Bobcats, Ring-tailed cats, and two species of Bats; and Reptiles such as Cottonmouth Water Moccasins, Prairie Kingsnakes, Slender glass lizards, and Squirrel Tree Frogs, thrive in the Piney Woods. A large variety of birds from Cranes and Vultures to individual species like the Mockingbird and the endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker. Alligators are not as common as they once were, but their population has rebounded since the 1960s. Bears are rare today, but still live in remote thickets. Recently, there has been significant talk of reintroducing the black bear into many parts of East Texas. [ [ WHERE THEY ONCE ROAMED / Will bears prowl Piney Woods?] . Houston Chronicle. July 6, 2005.] [ [ Push grows to make E. Texas bear country] . Houston Chronicle. August 8, 2006.] There are anecdotal sightings of panthers, though these may be cougars. The most common fish is Catfish, which are a native species but also stocked in local reservoirs. A small crustacean called the crayfish (commonly called "crawfish" or "crawdad" in the local vernacular) is common along river and creek banks.

The Piney Woods Region of the four state area is a noted area for Sasquatch (Big Foot) sightings; with many legends dating back to pre European settlement. One such noted legend is the story of the Fouke Monster of Southern Arkansas; documented in a movie titled "The Legend of Boggy Creek" in the early 1970's. The area according to references lists this area to be the third highest in North America for these such sightings.

Conservation and threats

The majority of the commercial timber growing and wood processing in the state of Texas takes place in the Piney Woods region, which contains about 50,000 km² (12.5 million acres) of commercial forestland.

National forests

Four National Forests are found in the Piney Woods of East Texas. These National Forests include some 634,912 acres (2,569 km²) in 12 counties.
* Angelina National Forest (Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine and Jasper counties)
* Sabine National Forest
* Davy Crockett National Forest
* Sam Houston National Forest (Huntsville)

tate parks

The Texas portion of the Piney Woods has at least 17 state parks:
*Atlanta State Park
*Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site
*Caddo Lake State Park
*Daingerfield State Park
*Governor Hogg Shrine Historic Site (Quitman)
*Huntsville State Park
*Jim Hogg Historic Site (Rusk)
*Lake Bob Sandlin State Park
*Lake Livingston State Park
*Martin Creek Lake State Park
*Martin Dies Jr. State Park (Jasper)
*Mission Tejas State Park
*Rusk and Palestine State Parks
*Starr Family State Historic Site
*Tyler State Park
*Village Creek State Park

External links

* [ Images and Information on the Piney Woods and East Texas]
* [ Experience Nature, Arts & Culture, History & Heritage Destinations in the Texas Pineywoods]


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