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Appalachian Resources in Special Collections and University Archives: Environment

About the Appalachian Environment and Environmental Issues

This section contains resources about the natural history of the region, coal mining and miners, and geography. Maps of parts of the region and photographs of the landscape can also be found here.

The geography in Appalachia is characterized by rugged, forested mountains much shorter than their younger counterparts. The Appalachian include four distinct regions, each with their own topography and history: the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Plateaus, and the Ridge and Valley. By the late nineteenth century, logging and coal mining were both popular industries wreaking havoc on the natural environment in Appalachia. The forests were permanently altered by this destruction, with topography altered by activities such as strip mining and many plant and animal species wiped out. Beginning in the twentieth century, environmental activists have been fighting for conservation and preservation of the natural landscape, leading to the creation of places such as the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks.

This information and more can be found in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia and the resources below.

Click on the book or collection title to learn more about it.

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