The Southern Appalachian Mountains contain many protected gorges, which support a very diverse bryoflora, including many endemic, rare and disjunct species. A small, pristine and protected tributary of the Little Tennessee River, Falls Branch Falls was chosen as the focus of this bryophyte flora and study. Falls Branch Falls is located in the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee at an elevation of 1131m (3710 ft.). Inventory methods consist of ecological niche observation and field collections. The tributary landscape was sampled along ecological gradients and subunits from which specimens of bryophyte associations were collected. Each sample was treated by laboratory identification of all associated taxa and each taxon was scored for dominant, co-dominant, consociated, or incidental occurrence. The inventory and descriptive ecology of the bryophyte flora of this small area will add to our knowledge of flora within the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and stand as the beginning survey of bryophytes for Cherokee National Forest. A number of phytogeographic elements have been discovered in Falls Branch Falls: Endemics, notably Megaceros aenigmaticus; and a number of Tennessee-North Carolina state-listed rare; and disjunct bryophyte species. To date 125 bryophyte taxa have been identified. Collections and identification are planned to continue through December 2001.

Key words: bryophyte, diversity, ecology, endemic, floristic, Southern Appalachian