The structure of the Appalachians Essay

Discuss the Appalachians in Footings of their Physical Structure and Evolving Human Geographies.


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The Appalachians is a mountain scope system located within the great upland system of North America which extends from the Eastern portion of North America ( Rocky Mountains and extends 2,570km South West from the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec state, Canada to the Gulf coastal Plains of Alabama ( AllRefer, 2005 ; Britannica, 2005 ) . Politically, Appalachia is designated as the country get downing in the north with two counties of the Allegheny Plateau in western New York, and stretching southerly through the cardinal and southern physiographic parts on into environing Lowlandss of Mississippi in the sou’-west and the Piedmont along the sou’-east wing ( Raitz and Ulack, 1984 ) . The name Appalachia is applied to these parts as characterised by fringy economic system and isolation from the U.S. Mainstream ( Porter, 1970 ) . The mountain scope system forms a natural barrier crossing 2500km between the eastern coastal field and the interior Lowlandss of North America.

Physical Features

The Appalachian mountain system is divided into three distinguishable physiographic parts in order to clear up their physical and cultural diverseness ;

  • The Northern Appalachia, which lies in Northern New York State, New England and along the St Lawrence River in Canada.
  • The Central Appalachia, which Lies from Southern New York State to South Of Washington DC ( latitude N 38 grades )
  • The Southern Appalachia, which lies within Georgia and Alabama where the mountains run into the coastal fields of south eastern N. America.

The physiographic parts outlined supra have been determined chiefly by the geologic history of the part. This besides determined the clime and shaped the socio-economic base of the part. The Appalachian mountain scope system give rise to tremendous climatic fluctuation non merely because of it’s topography but besides as a consequence of its northeast-southwest orientation. Geographically the Appalachian Mountains are the chief determiner of the ecology of eastern North America. These mountains are cardinal to determining conditions forms, bring forthing big countries of heavy precipitation on the West and rain shadows on the E. Annual temperature ranges varies from 18?C in the Highlandss to 4?C in the Katahdin and 2?C in the Notre Dame Mountains whilst mean one-year precipitation ranges from approximately 70 to 170cm per twelvemonth. The climatic, geographic and geologic factors present in the Appalachians created a mosaic of home grounds which is really complex and merely associated with the part. There are five works community types as identified by Daubenmire, ( 1978 ) ; Sutton and Sutton, ( 1988 ) . This comprises chiefly of deciduous broadleaved forests which histories for the extended logging or timbering as it is normally known in the part.

Evolving Human Geographies & A ; The Appalachians

The Appalachians boulder clay today still remains a part of the United States with comparatively high degrees of poorness, even though it has made important achieve during the past 25 old ages. Assorted literatures by outstanding writers and docudramas have emphasized the job of the Appalachian environment, the dwellers and their economic system over the old ages ( Caudill, 1963 ; Couto, 1994 ; Harrington, 1962 ; Lyson & A ; Falk, 1993 ; Weller, 1965 ) . In this cragged, geographically distant, and unjust rural part, the dwellers have traditionally vied with a cyclical economic system, lower than U.S.-average net incomes, and higher than mean poorness degrees ( ARC, 1972, 1979, 1981 ) . In add-on to the rural and geographically stray nature of the part, the socioeconomic differences between the Appalachians and other parts of North America have been shaped by a figure of factors. The topographic terrain was a determiner in the socio-economies of the part. For illustration the Northern portion of the Appalachians was easier to entree due to the presence of the seashore on each side of the mountain scope and effectual interior entree through the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers ( Mountain Portal Undated ) that accounts for the early resource development chiefly coal, oil, gas and lumber development in this part ( Mountain Portal Undated ) . This lead to the Northern portion of the Appalachians to see industrialization before the Central and Southern Appalachian parts even though the economic value of the resources in the Central and Southern parts far exceeded that of the Northern part. Resource extraction by outside influence gave small or no involvement to the impact of these activities on the environmental or socio-economic impact on the part ( Mountain Portal Undated ) . The annihilating impact still goes on as coal excavation besides remain a prevalent industry, using strip-mining engineering which disrupts big countries and degrades the ecosystem dramatically and more lamentably, requires a smaller work force than earlier. This is related to other factors which besides plays a critical function in the development of the part. These factors includes the area’s comparative deficiency of high-skill and high-wage fabrication, limited industrial diverseness, sensitiveness to recession, dependance on extractive industries, export of capital, and deficiency of investing in human capital ( Duncan, 1985, 1992 ; Ergood & A ; Kuhre, 1983 ; Goodstein, 1989 ; Haynes, 1997 ; Raitz & A ; Ulack, 1984.

Meanwhile, due to the addition in touristry and trade in the part, land values in many countries have increased, The dwellers of the Appalachian mountain communities can no longer afford to buy land for farming even for lodging. This slow dissection of land from the cultural equation invites farther disintegration of the traditional relationship. Cultural resiliency becomes minimum in a manner that is tantamount to a low degree of environmental resiliency in the coming of atmospheric pollution.


In decision, in malice of all the alterations now impacting the Appalachian Mountains, possibly their dominant characteristic is their resiliency. Environmentally, the Appalachians have been assailed by bad agricultural patterns, logging ( taking to monolithic deforestation ) , and by mining. Despite major dirt eroding in some parts, typically less than one hundred old ages after this assault the mountains recover with singular energy. In a continent that has absorbed a big figure of migrators from diverse cultural backgrounds into an American civilization, the Appalachian civilization still remains unusually typical, an incorporate civilization surrounded by the huge population and economic force per unit areas of the East Coast of the USA. How long the environment, the people and civilizations of this Mountain scope can go on to be stable is a cardinal most of import inquiry given the current and possibly more permeant impacts of influences now infiltrating this alone part.


All Reference Encyclopedia ( 2005 )

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Appalachian Regional Commission. ( 1972 ) .Appalachia—An economic study: Tendencies in employment, income and population. Washington, DC: Writer.

Appalachian Regional Commission. ( 1979 ) .Appalachia—A mention book. Washington, DC: Writer.

Appalachian Regional Commission. ( 1981 ) .Appalachia—A mention book: Addendum to the 2nd edition. Washington, DC: Writer.

Brittanica Encyclopedia ( 2005 )

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Caudill, H. M. ( 1963 ) .Night comes to the Cumberland. Boston: Little, Brown.

Couto, R. A. ( 1994 ) .An American challenge: A study on economic tendencies and societal issues in Appalachia. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Daubenmire, R. , 1978.Plant Geography ; With Particular Reference to North America. Academic Press, New York, 338pp.

Duncan, C. M. ( 1985 ) .Capital and the province in regional economic development: The instance of the coal industry in Central Appalachia. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.

Duncan, C. M. ( 1992 ) . Persistent poorness in Appalachia: Scarcework and stiff stratification. In C. M. Duncan ( Ed. ) ,Rural poorness in America( pp. 111-133 ) . New York: Auburn House.

Ergood, B. , and Kuhre, B. E. ( 1983 ) .Appalachia: Social context, past and present. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Goodstein, E. ( 1989 ) . Landownership, development, and poorness in Southern Appalachia.Journal of Developing Areas,23( 4 ) , 519-533.

Hammer R. B. , Blakely, R. M. and Voss, P. R. ( 2003 ) ‘The Effectss of Integrating the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates Into the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Designation of Economically Distressed Counties’Economic Development Quaterly, 17 (2) ; 165-174

Harrington, M. ( 1962 ) .The other America: Poverty in the United States. New York: Macmillan.

Isserman, A. , and Rephann, T. ( 1995 ) . The economic effects of the Appalachian Regional Commission: An empirical appraisal of 26 old ages of regional development planning.Journal of the American Planning Association,61( 3 ) , 345-364.

Lyson, T. A. and Falk, W. L. ( Eds. ) . ( 1993 ) .Disregarded topographic points: Uneven development in rural America. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Mountain Portal ( Undated )

Raitz, K. B. , and Ulack, R. ( 1984 ) .Appalachia: A regional geographics. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Sutton, A. , and M. Sutton, 1988.Eastern Forests.Alfred A. Knopf, New York

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. ( 2000 ) .Regional Economic Information System 1969-98[ CD-ROM ] . Washington, DC: Writer.

Weller, J. E. ( 1965 ) .Yesterday’s people: Life in modern-day Appalachia. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.

Wood, L. E. and Bischak, G. A. ( 2000 ) .Advancement and challenges in cut downing economic hurt in Appalachia: An analysis of national and regional tendencies since 1960. Washington, DC: Appalachian Regional Commission.


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