All text, maps & photos © Hilton Pond Center

The Piedmont physiographic province is one of the most common but least-studied regions of the eastern United States. Stretching from southeastern New York State to northeastern Alabama (see map above), the Piedmont is bounded to the east by the Coastal Plain and to the west by the southern Appalachian Mountains. It is the most heavily fragmented region of South Carolina, having been settled, logged, and farmed for generations. It is characterized by rolling hills, lots of tributaries, and--especially in the Southeast--iron-rich red clay once hidden by ample deposits of topsoil. Much of this soil was lost due to unwise agricultural practices, especially a lack of contour plowing and decades of planting row crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton (below).

Although many portions are densely populated and include numerous colleges and universities, the Carolina Piedmont still has not been the subject of many long-term studies in natural history or ecology. As one of few Piedmont research sites, Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History near York, South Carolina, provides valuable data about diverse phenomena such as movements and longevity of Piedmont birds, vegetative succession, plant-animal interactions, and distribution of Piedmont mammals.

All text, maps & photos © Hilton Pond Center

The Center publishes its information on this Web site and in scientific and education journals. Of particular interest is This Week at Hilton Pond, a regular series of photo essays about natural history happenings at the Center, and for which a free on-line subscription is available.

For more information about the Piedmont, browse the extensive pages of this Hilton Pond Center Web site and refer to Michael A. Godfrey's excellent Field Guide to the Piedmont (UNC Press, 1997).

All text, maps & photos © Hilton Pond Center
Geological map above courtesy SC Department of Natural Resources

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.