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Alabama Biodiversity. Reasons for Alabama High Biodiversity. Climate - variation in temp. and precipitation across the state from north to south Physiography - a mixing point for many geographic ranges, good geological and physical diversity

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reasons for alabama high biodiversity
Reasons for Alabama High Biodiversity
  • Climate - variation in temp. and precipitation across the state from north to south
  • Physiography - a mixing point for many geographic ranges, good geological and physical diversity
  • Water Resources - lots of water of different types andmany isolated rivers results in many endemic species
  • Compare Alabama’s weather with other U.S. cities.
alabama physiography
Alabama Physiography

The Fall Lineis a geographic feature which divides Alabama into two distinct physical regions, the uplands and lowlands. It is considered the most significant physical feature in Alabama affecting the distribution of plants and animals. It represents the zone of contact between the hard rocks of the Appalachians and the softer sediments of the Coastal plain. Many species are limited to either above or below the fall line.

highland rim
Highland Rim
  • Also known as Tennessee Valley
  • Topography – floodplain of old Tenn. River (now dammed and flooding controlled), cliffs
  • Soil – very rich soil, intensive agriculture
  • Trees – Oak/Hickory, fewer pines
  • Water – Tenn. River and Streams
cumberland plateau
Cumberland Plateau
  • In Alabama as Sand Mountain.
  • Topography – Deep narrow valleys carved into the landscape by rivers and streams give the impression of mountains, but the “hilltops”, all about the same level represent the original plateau surface, caves common.
  • Soils – sedimentary rock - limestone, shale, sandstone rich with plant and animal fossils and coal seams.
  • Trees - The plateau contains some of the largest stretches of contiguous forest in the eastern United States. Oak and hickory forest types with pines occurring on dry, upland sites.
  • Water – Impacted by mining
ridge and valley
Ridge And Valley
  • Topography – These mountains are characterized by long, even ridges, with long, continuous valleys in between.
  • Soil – Limestone, sandstone, clay
  • Trees – Oak, pine, hickory
  • Water – clear, rocky river, springs common (Cahaba River)
piedmont upland
Piedmont Upland
  • Piedmont - “foot of the mountain”
  • Topography – hilly
  • Soil – poor, clay and rocky
  • Trees – Heavily forested, pines on hills, hardwoods in the valleys.
  • Water – Clear and rocky
east gulf coastal plain
East Gulf Coastal Plain
  • Below the Fall Line.
  • Topography – Flat to rolling hills
  • Soil – Sandy to Sandy-loam and sandy-clays.
  • Trees – Longleaf pine, turkey oak, palmetto. (dependent on fire)
  • Water – Tea-colored or black water swamps.

Alabama State Soil - Bama Series Soil Profile

  • Surface layer: dark brown fine sandy loam
  • Subsurface layer: pale brown fine sandy loam
  • Subsoil: red clay loam and sandy clay loam

Bamasoils are mainly in level to gently sloping areas on high terraces paralleling major river systems and on broad marine terraces. These very deep, well-drained, moderately permeable soils formed in thick deposits of loamy fluvial or marine sediments.The average annual precipitation is 56 to 64 inches. The average annual air temperature is 60 to 65 degrees F. These soils make up more than 360,000 acres, mainly in the western and central parts of Alabama. They occur in 26 counties.These soils are well suited to cultivated crops, pasture, hay, woodland, and most urban uses. Cotton and corn are the main cultivated crops. Some areas are used as woodland.The Bama soil series was designated the official state soil of Alabama by the State Legislature on April 22, 1997.

rivers of alabama
Rivers of Alabama
  • For information on each of Alabama’s Rivers visit
alabama natural resources1
Alabama Natural Resources

Resources and Consumption

Alabama is rich in energy resources. The State has considerable conventional and unconventional natural gas reserves, substantial deposits of coal, and numerous rivers capable of hydroelectric generation. Several regions of Alabama are well suited for growing switchgrass, making the State a potential site for the installation of bioenergy plants. With a strong manufacturing base in paper products, chemicals, and textiles, Alabama’s industrial sector leads State energy consumption, accounting for nearly one-half of total energy use.


Alabama produces a small amount of crude oil from reserves located in the Black Warrior Basin in the north and the Gulf Coast in the south. Although production has been in decline since the early 1990s, new onshore drilling activity has occurred in recent years. To increase production from aging fields, producers have repaired old wells and applied new technology. One petroleum refinery is located near the Port of Mobile, a second is located in Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River, and a third is located in Atmore in the southern part of the State. Petroleum products made at Alabama’s refineries are delivered to local and regional markets and shipped via pipeline to States in the Northeast. Alabama markets receive additional finished petroleum products from Texas and Louisiana through the Colonial and Plantation pipelines. Per capita petroleum consumption in Alabama is about average compared to other States.

Natural Gas

Alabama’s annual natural gas production accounts for more than 1 percent of total U.S. output. More than one-half of this production typically comes from onshore wells, and about two-fifths come from coal bed methane deposits (unconventional natural gas found trapped within coal seams) in the Black Warrior Basin and the Cahaba Coal Field. As with oil production, Alabama’s natural gas production is in decline and does not satisfy State demand, about four-fifths of which is from industrial users and electric power generators. Consequently, Alabama purchases additional supplies of natural gas transported by pipeline mainly from the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, and Texas. The Southeast Supply Header pipeline, transporting natural gas from the Perryville Hub in Texas to southern Alabama, came on-line in September 2008. This pipeline has a capacity of 1 billion cubic feet per day and is intended to give Alabama consumers an alternative to offshore supply, which may be vulnerable to weather-related disruptions.

alabama natural resources2
Alabama Natural Resources

Coal, Electricity, and Renewables

Alabama ranks among the top 10 States in electricity generation. Coal is the dominant fuel for electric power generation, typically accounting for more than one-half of the electricity produced within the State. Alabama produces large amounts of coal in the northern part of the State. Industrial plants and coke plants consume a larger share of the State’s output than in most other States. Additional coal, largely used for electricity generation, is shipped in from other States, primarily Wyoming, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Alabama is a major nuclear power generator; its two nuclear power plants produce about one-fourth of the electricity generated in the State. The State’s nuclear power capacity expanded in mid-2007 when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) restarted a nuclear reactor at its Browns Ferry plant that had been idle since 1985. With more than two dozen hydroelectric dams, located mainly along the Alabama and Coosa Rivers, Alabama is one of the top producers of hydroelectric power east of the Rocky Mountains. Hydroelectric power typically supplies at least 5 percent of State electricity generation. Alabama ranks among the top States in net summer capacity for generation from wood and wood waste. The State also contains one of the world’s largest solid biofuel plants, designed to produce 520,000 metric tons of wood pellets each year, the majority of which is shipped to Europe.

Due to high demand from the industrial and residential sectors, Alabama’s total electricity consumption is high when compared to other States. Alabama’s per capita consumption of residential electricity is one of the highest in the country due to high air-conditioning demand during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the generally mild winter months. However, despite high total and per capita electricity demand, Alabama electricity production exceeds consumption and the State exports large amounts of electricity to neighboring States via several high-voltage interstate transmission lines.

alabama habitats such a diverse landscape gives rise to very high al biodiversity
Alabama HabitatsSuch a diverse landscape gives rise to very high AL biodiversity.
  • Open and Disturbed Areas
    • Grasslands
    • Power- and gas-line easements
    • Roadsides
    • Managed fields and crops
  • Rocky Habitats
    • Caves
    • Rocky outcrops
  • Southern Piedmont and Highland Forests
    • Southern piedmont forests
    • Highland forests
  • Pine Forests and Cedar Glades
    • Pine Flatwoods
    • Longleaf pine upland forest
    • Loblolly-shortleaf pine upland forests
    • Cedar glades
  • Open Inland Water and Waterways
    • Lakes
    • Alluvial rivers
    • Mountain rivers
    • Ponds and spring runs
  • Freshwater Wetlands
    • Cypress-dominated wetlands
    • Wet prairies and savannas
    • Freshwater marshes
    • Bottomland forests
    • Gum ponds and bay swamps
  • Coasts
    • Dunes and beaches
    • Maritime forests
    • Barrier islands
    • Tidal mudflats
    • Salt marshes
  • Oceans and Bays
    • Gulf of Mexico
    • Saltwater bays
    • Estuaries
    • Sea-grass beds