The Cumberland Plateau is situated in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains of United States of America. It includes eastern Kentucky and Tennessee region and northern Alabama and the northwest Georgia. It includes the dissected plateau lands, and it lies on the west of Appalachian Mountains. The two rivers are sharing its name with these two plateaus namely the Cumberland River and the Allegheny River. The plateau is 65 to 80 kilometers wide and some of its notable features are Pine, Cumberland, Sand Mountains, and Walden Ridge. The plateau also has the deposits of the limestone and coal, which are used for the preparation of cement and the fine-grated sandstones, used for decorative and construction purposes.
4. Historical Role
The Cumberland Plateau, and its centric region the Cumberland Gap which is now partially in a national historic park, provided the westward settlers of the 18th and 19th Centuries passage, and held great importance in the American Civil War as well. It also contains large stretches of the contiguous forest, which are in the eastern United States. The forest types here are oak, pines and hickory and the mesophytic species which occurs in protected coves. From the year 1770 to 1820, most of the explorer’s traveled down the plateau for hunting and trapping activities but they never settled here. Most of the people in the late 1800s were seen to be settling in the area of coves or the narrow fertile valleys. Between the years 1880 to 1940, the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company extracted the forest area and coal from the region. For this, they built railroads and when they pulled out most of the community people moved away with them.
3. Modern Significance
The Cumberland Plateau of today has deep gorges or gulf area, waterfalls and the mountains and forest composition, which mainly includes the Sugar Maple, Tulip Poplar, and Pure Hemlock. For the tourists, there are many motels and hotels, lodging, which is made out of the little schoolhouse. One can also visit the state parks like the Fall Creek Falls, Cumberland Mountain, South Cumberland State Park and the Cumberland Trail. Crossville in the plateau region also has 11 lakes and 4 golf courses and there are several resorts too. One can also try outdoor activities, fishing and hunting.
2. Habitat and Biodiversity
The Cumberland Plateau houses many hemlock trees in coves and the tiny insect namely hemlock woolly adelgid is found here, which has moved from the Appalachian Mountains to the coastal region. Other kinds of insects found in the area are the Nymph or the adult insects. The animals which are also found in the area are the salamanders, land snails, and many varieties of the North American Mammals.
1. Environmental Threats and Conservation
The modern developments in the area of the Cumberland Plateau are putting the wildlife and forest area on the risk. As there are many pests and other extraction activities, which are found in the area have threatened its existence. For curbing these threats, the conservationists are employing modern technology in the area, communication sharing between the governmental and nongovernmental organizations is being done, need for funding in the area which should be maximized.