The East Texas region is primarily a thick forest of pines, hence the name Pineywoods! This woodland is part of a larger forest that extends into Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The terrain is rolling with lower, wetter bottomlands that grow hardwood trees such as elm, mesquite and ash. This region is home to a variety of plants and animals that like woodlands and shorelines. Among them are: cottonmouth snakes, squirrels, rabbits and opossums. Swamps are common, particularly in the southern most area of the region which is called the “Big Thicket.”
The “Big Thicket” is ecologically different from the rest of the region. The land is mostly low-lying wetlands. An interesting and diverse mix of habitats has developed here. Plants and animals from both the east and the west live here. Cacti and roadrunners live near orchids and Cypress trees.
Topography and Characteristics
Major Rivers: Sabine, Cypress, Sulphur, Red.
Major Aquifer: Carrizo-Wilcox
Size: 23,500 sq. mi.
The east Texas pineywoods has rolling terrain covered with pines and oaks, and rich bottomlands with tall hardwoods. This region is part of a much larger area of pine-hardwood forest that extends into Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The soils of the region are generally acidic and mostly pale to dark gray sands or sandy loams.
Longleaf pine forests once dominated the southeastern part of the Pineywoods. A few pockets of longleaf pine may still be seen today. Mixed pine-oak forests occur to the west and north of the longleaf pine area. Dominant trees include loblolly pine, blackjack oak, and post oak. Hardwood forests of sweetgum, magnolia, tupelo, elm and ash occur in the lowlands. Swamps are common and are outstanding in the southern part of the pine-oak forest.
Major Cities - Rainfall / Elevation
Regional Average Rainfall: 40-52 in./yr
Regional Average Net Evaporation rate: 16-32 inches
The average annual rainfall is fairly uniformly distributed throughout the year, and humidity and temperatures are typically high. Elevations range from 200 to a little over 500 feet above sea level. Data source: National Climate Datat Center, U.S. Dept of Commerce.
Alto - 45.63 in / 433 ft
Atlanta - 48.83 in / 264 ft
Canton - 44.56 in / 540 ft
Carthage - 51.51 in / 302 ft
Jacksonville - 46.05 in / 560 ft
Longview - 49.06 in / 3309 ft
Marshall - 51.22 in / 352 ft
Nacogdoches - 48.36 in / 283 ft
San Augustine - 53.92 in / 304 ft
Texarkana - 51.24 in / 390 ft
Tyler - 45.27 in / 558 ft
Woodville - 55.70 in / 232 ft
Pine, oak, and other hardwood forests
Southern red oak
Eastern red cedar
Rare Plants & Habitats
Texas trailing phlox: Deep sandy soils of long-leaf pine woodlands
White bladderpod: Natural openings of pine-oak woodlands
Southern short-tailed shrew
Rafinesque's big-eared bat
Common gray fox
Eastern gray squirrel
Eastern flying squirrel
Attwater's pocket gopher
Marsh rice rat
Eastern harvest mouse
Rare Animals & Habitats
Red-cockaded woodpecker: Pineywoods with widely-spaced, large mature pine trees.
Bald Eagle, breeding:
In Texas, along river systems or lakeshores with large, tall trees. Breeding populations occur in the eastern half of Texas.
Wintering: Mostly near large lakes and reservoirs. Wintering eagles occur in suitable habitat throughout Texas.