Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests
|Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests|
|Biome||Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests|
|Area||116,400 km2 (44,900 sq mi)|
|Countries||United States and Canada|
|States/Provinces||Vermont, New York, Ontario and Quebec|
This area includes much of northern New York state (save for the Adirondacks), western Vermont, the Saint Lawrence Lowlands in southern Quebec and most of southern Ontario between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. The region includes the Frontenac Axis, the Niagara Escarpment up to Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron, and Lake Simcoe. Meanwhile, the forests south of Lake Ontario are classified as the Southern Great Lakes forests ecoregion and in Canada the higher elevations of the Canadian Appalachian Mountains and the Laurentian Mountains constitute the Eastern Canadian forests.
This region has warm summers and cold, snowy winters.
This ecoregion is a transition area between the taiga to the north and the temperate deciduous forest to the south and thus contains a variety of habitats including freshwater marshes, dunes, bogs, fens, and hardwood and conifer swamps. Trees of the woodland include eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), pines, maple, and oaks. Particular areas include the oak/pine mix of the Albany Pine Bush, areas of dry rocky alvar plain, and the white cedars (Thuja occidentalis) of the Niagara Escarpment.
The Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests are very rich in wildlife. Birds include cardinals, downy woodpecker, wood duck and eastern screech owl. Large mammals including American black bear (Ursus americanus), moose (Alces alces), and gray wolf (Canis lupus) have been removed from this ecoregion and remaining mammals include white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), coyote (Canis latrans), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).
Threats and preservation
The Saint Lawrence River is one of the most polluted in the world and these surrounding forests are vulnerable to clearance for agriculture and urban development including the cities of Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and suburbs of Toronto, Syracuse and Albany, New York. Less than 5% of natural forest remains intact. The fragmented blocks of remaining habitat include: the eastern end of Lake Ontario; Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont; the Chaumont Barrens, Rome Sand Plains, the Albany Pine Bush and the proposed Split Rock Wildway in New York; Bruce Peninsula (the barrier between Georgian Bay and the main section of Lake Huron), Alfred Bog, Luther Marsh, the Ganaraska Forest and Carden Plain in Ontario; and Mont Saint-Hilaire, Lac Saint-François National Wildlife Area and Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Areas in Quebec.
- Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M. D.; Boucher, T. M.; Robertson, J. C.; Heibel, T. J.; Ellison, K. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26256-0.
- "Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
- "Eastern Great Lakes Lowland Forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
- World Wildlife Fund (2001). "Eastern Great Lakes Lowland Forests". WildWorld Ecoregion Profile. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08.
- Central U.S. hardwood forests images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu