Sunday, April 14, 2024

Arkansas - Vegetation

Known for its scenic beauty, clear lakes, and abundant wildlife, it's easy to see why Arkansas has earned the title of the "Natural State". In our upcoming Arkansas DLC for American Truck Simulator, our team has been hard at work re-creating the various trees, vegetation and more you'll come across on your travels. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Did you know Arkansas has its own State tree? Designated in 1939, the Loblolly Pine can be found across a majority of the state, and continues to remain the most significant timber species. These trees can reach heights of up to 100ft, with its pines growing between 6 to 9 inches long, which is makes it the ideal species for lumber and pulpwood, in which Arkansas is the leading producer in the United States. When you see a pine in Arkansas, it’s probably a loblolly! You'll be sure to spot plenty of them on your travels. 

Another tree you'll be sure to see is the Bald Cypress. Commonly found in swampy or wetland areas, they are well-suited to the diverse wetland ecosystems found throughout the state. Often found across the South-eastern United States, particularly in areas like the Mississippi River; Bald Cypress trees contribute to the scenic beauty of Arkansas with its unique shape and and iconic "knees" – woody projections that emerge from the roots.

However, not every plant or tree you'll find in Arkansas is native to its homeland. The Kudzu Vine is a fast-growing, invasive vine native to Asia which has found its way into the States in 1876, where it was touted as a great ornamental plant for its sweet-smelling blooms and sturdy vines. However, they forgot to mention the rapid growth rate of the vine, which is capable of growing up to a foot (30 cm) per day under ideal conditions. It climbs by twining around trees, poles, and other structures, often forming dense mats that can shade out native vegetation. In Arkansas it is commonly found along roadsides, in forest edges, and in undisturbed areas such as abandoned fields and vacant lots. 

Another such example is the Silk Tree, an ornamental tree species native to Asia, particularly Iran, Korea, and Japan. Its elegant fern-like foliage, vibrant flowers, and overall graceful appearance make it a popular choice for landscaping and ornamental purposes. While the Silk Tree undoubtedly adds aesthetic value, its ability to spread its seed rapidly, means it often outcompetes native vegetation and disrupts local ecosystems. 

These are just a small handful of the various new vegetation species you'll find in our upcoming DLC. Those who are familiar with different species of trees will spot the likes of the Smooth Sumac, Black Oak and many more. We urge you to look out for them and maybe a take a minute to learn about them when you have are taking a rest! 

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into the vegetation side of things, and we look forward to highlighting the natural beauty of the state in the near future. Until then, be sure to add Arkansas to your Steam Wishlist and to follow us on Social Media (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) for all the latest news. 

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