Topography

Mountain Cove

photo: Kerry Barringer, Paul Harwood

Dictated by topography, mountain coves are locations were water collects from surrounding ridge tops. These areas typically exhibit a more abundant and diverse composition of vegetation as a result of cool moist temperatures.

Coves also have an ecologically diverse mix of tree species. Some cove-dwelling tree species, like the Eastern Hemlock are only sparsely found outside of these areas. Rhododendron can also be a common site as the cove descends into the valley.

Because these areas very are sensitive to disturbance, it is important to protect these areas.

Topography describes the physical features of your land including elevations and natural features. Topography is very important to your property's vegetation, water drainage and suitable land use. Visit the Kentucky Topographic Map Image Download Center to download high resolution topographic map images.

You may notice that as topography changes from ridge to valley, the type of vegetation also changes. Look even closer and you’ll notice that certain trees and plants prefer one side of a ridge to another. Topography also dictates slope and aspect.

Slope and aspect help gauge how much sunlight a specific area will receive at various times of the day or seasons during the year. For example, on a north-east facing slope, the vegetation will receive only a few hours of sunlight, and the sunlight it receives is not the strongest sunlight of the day. Therefore, on a northeast-facing slope you would be more likely to see species that desire cool and moist conditions, such as yellow poplar and sugar maple. South-facing slopes receive a greater amount of intense sunlight, which tends to make them drier. Expect to see species that desire these conditions like short-leaf pine and mountain laurel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you find this information useful?