Essay written by Mark Shuler
The state of Georgia has a total area of 152,750 sq km (58,977 sq mi), including 2618 sq km (1011 sq mi) of inland water and 122 sq km (47 sq mi) of coastal waters over which the state has jurisdiction. The state is the 24th largest in the country and has the largest land area of any state east of the Mississippi River. Georgia has a top range north to south of 515 km (320 mi) and east to west of 441 km (274 mi). The mean elevation is about 180 m (about 600 ft). Georgia occupies parts of six natural regions, or physiographic provinces. They are the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge province, the Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus.
Almost the whole area of Georgia was forested in early colonial times, and about three-fifths of the land is still covered by forests and woodlands.
Mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees cover most of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountain areas. Normal trees in these areas include species of ash, beech, birch, hemlock, hickory, poplar, sweetgum, sycamore, red oak, white oak, and Virginia, shortleaf, and loblolly pines. Pines which dominate on the Piedmont are loblolly and shortleaf pine trees. On the coastal plains, slash, loblolly, and longleaf pines are found. The live oak, the state tree, thrives in the southern part of the coastal plains. Palmettos are found in areas of sandy soil, and bald cypresses and tupelo gums are commonly found in swampy and badly drained areas. Spanish moss festoons many of the cypresses in Okefenokee Swamp. Other trees that are found in the state include the red maple, sweet bay, black cherry, butternut, sassafras, southern magnolia, cottonwood, locust, and...