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Gulf Coastal Plains

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Title: Gulf Coastal Plains  
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Subject: Texas, Geography of Texas
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gulf Coastal Plains

The Gulf Coastal Plain extends around the Gulf of Mexico in the Southern United States and eastern Mexico.

The plains reaches from the western Florida Panhandle, the southwestern two thirds of Alabama, over most of Mississippi, some of western Tennessee and Kentucky, southwest Arkansas, the Florida Parishes of Louisiana, the southeast corner of Oklahoma, and easternmost Texas in the United States.[1] It continues along the Gulf in northeastern and eastern Mexico, through Tamaulipas and Veracruz to Tabasco and the Yucat√°n Peninsula on the Bay of Campeche.


The Gulf Coastal Plains southern boundary is the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S. and the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Mexico. Its western boundary is the drop into the Mississippi embayment (Mississippi Alluvial Valley) in the U.S. and the Sierra Madre Oriental in Mexico. On the north it extends to the Ouachita Highlands of the Interior Low Plateaus and the southern Appalachian Mountains.[1] To the east, there is an arbitrary break with the South Atlantic Coastal Plain at the Alabama-Georgia border and south along the Apalachicola River through the Florida panhandle. The flat to rolling topography is broken by many streams, river riparian areas, and marsh wetlands.


The northern region uplands are dominated by pine, originally Longleaf and Slash in the south and Shortleaf mixed with hardwoods in the north. These are wildfire-maintained systems that give way to Loblolly Pine and hardwoods in damper areas and bottomland hardwood forest in extensive lowland drainages. The southern region has tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests and western Gulf coastal grasslands. They include large habitats of freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and coastal mangrove swamps.[2] Much of the lower elevation Gulf Coastal Plains supports wintering waterfowl.


External links

  • BLM: West Gulf Coastal Plain website
  • USDA - Center for Bottomlands Hardwood Research website
  • Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP) website
  • Ducks Unlimited: Gulf Coastal Prairie

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