National Park Service

Appalachian Highlands Network (APHN)

Appalachian Highlands Network

Fall colors at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Weather monitoring station at Big South Fork NRRA Water quality sampling at Rock Creek in Obed WSR Fire pink (Silene virginica) in flower at Big South Fork NRRA Field crew sampling a cobble bar habitat [photo by Nora Murdock] Common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) Stormy weather at Great Smoky Mountains NP Air quality comparison photos from the Smoky Mountains Spotfin chub (Erimonax monachus) in the Obed River [photo by Brian Watson] Red-cheeked salamander (Plethodon jordani) Common barred owl (Strix varia) Freshwater mussels at Big South Fork NRRA Stonefly nymph at Obed Wild and Scenic River Galax urceolata is poached for its shiny evergreen leaves [photo by Gary Kauffman] Vasey's trillium (Trillium vaseyi) Large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) Bloodroot in flower (Sanguinaria canadensis) The Federally Endangered Cumberlandian combshell

The Appalachian Highlands Network (APHN) is one of 32 National Park Service (NPS) inventory and monitoring (I&M) networks nationwide. These networks use long-term ecological monitoring to assess the condition of park ecosystems and other significant natural resources in the parks. The goal of the I&M Program is to develop a stronger scientific basis for stewardship and management of natural resources across the National Park System.

The Network consists of four national park units occurring in two ecologically distinct physiographic regions: the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.These parks contain some of the most diverse ecosystems within the entire National Park system, and protect the largest contiguous stands of old-growth forest remaining in the eastern United States. APHN parks range in size from 5,173 acres (Obed Wild & Scenic River) to 520,977 acres (Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

This web site delivers information about these resources and the scientific activities underway in the Appalachian Highlands Network. Learn more about what we're doing by exploring the links on the left or visit our park unit pages to find out about the resources in each of these special places.


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Report: Long-Term Monitoring Protocol for Cobble Bar Communities

Long-Term Monitoring Protocol for Cobble Bar Communities

Cobble bars, or Cumberland Riverside Scour Prairies, are a unique riparian vegetation association endemic to the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee and Kentucky....

Video: Freshwater Mussels

NPS is working with the Kentucky Center for Mollusk Conservation to monitor and restore rare freshwater mussels in BISO and OBRI (video courtesy KY Afield)

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Last Updated: February 06, 2014 Contact Webmaster