Entries - Entry Category: Land and Resources - Starting with E

Earthquakes

Numerous earthquakes occur every year throughout the state of Arkansas, but most go unnoticed. Earthquakes that are felt can be startling and serve as good reminders that Arkansas is located near one of the most hazardous earthquake zones in the country. Earthquakes have been documented in Arkansas as early as 1699 by missionaries traveling down the Mississippi River near Helena (Phillips County). Although it is uncommon for major earthquakes to occur a great distance from active tectonic boundaries, earthquakes associated with the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) have been some of the largest earthquakes ever to strike North America. The NMSZ is an active earthquake zone extending from Cairo, Illinois, into Marked Tree (Poinsett County). Earthquakes are caused by movement …

Eleven Point River

The Eleven Point River rises in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri near the town of Willow Springs and flows south-southeast, passing through the Mark Twain National Forest and entering Arkansas in Randolph County. It empties into the Spring River west of what is now Davidsonville Historic State Park and lends its name to the town of Eleven Point (Randolph County). The part of the Ozark Plateau through which the Eleven Point River flows was home to human habitation approximately as long ago as 10,000 B.C., according to archaeological excavations near Greer Springs, which empties into the Eleven Point. In addition, a few Indian mounds dating from the Mississippian Period have been located in the valley of the Eleven Point. In …

Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Species

Arkansas has many plant and animal species, partly because of varied topography and a temperate climate. An abundance of wildlife and rich soils for planting crops drew many of the early European settlers to the state. Many resources have been harvested or depleted. Earlier generations did not take steps to ensure that certain species were protected as their numbers decreased, and today several plants and animals are classified as endangered, threatened, or rare. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and to provide programs to prevent their extinction. The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric …

Environment

Arkansas’s physical environment features a mild climate, adequate rainfall, a rural and relatively uncrowded landscape, and diverse geology, which promote a variety of plants, animal life, and water resources. Understanding this environment requires examining the historical changes that have taken place, primarily those changes effected by human occupation. Each new culture and industry moving into the state has brought environmental changes, often dramatically affecting the landscapes of Arkansas’s six distinct geographic regions. An Environmental Snapshot Arkansas contains 53,104 square miles (some thirty-four million acres) composed of six regions: the Arkansas River Valley, Crowley’s Ridge, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (also called the Delta), the Ouachita Mountains, the Ozark Plateau, and the West Gulf Coastal Plain. More than 14.6 million acres is …

Environmental Racism

The term “environmental racism” originated with the environmental justice movement that began developing in the United States in the 1970s. The movement argues that environmental racism is a clear reflection of systemic racism, being a product of often interrelated institutional rules, regulations, and policies coupled with governmental and/or corporate decisions that knowingly target certain communities to bear the burden of environmentally undesirable environments. In addition, the harm of those policies may be increased by the lax enforcement of existing laws and regulations as well as other governmental policies such as zoning. In the end, the affected areas are exposed to a significantly higher degree of hazardous waste and other types of pollution. While there has long been a recognition that …

Experimental Forests

Experimental forests are timbered lands that have been established primarily for scientific research and demonstration projects in which forest conditions are manipulated. In effect, experimental forests are long-term “laboratories” for testing environmental responses to silvicultural treatments, including thinning, tree regeneration, final harvesting, site preparation, herbicide and fertilizer applications, and other actions. In addition to controlled and replicated research trials, most experimental forests have areas dedicated to the “demonstration” of forestry techniques on an operational scale. As of 2021, four experimental forests in Arkansas are operated by the Southern Research Station of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS): the 4,281-acre Alum Creek Experimental Forest near Jessieville (Garland County), the 1,675-acre Crossett Experimental Forest south of Crossett (Ashley County), the …