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Erie Drift Plain

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NameColor on MapEPA Code*
Mosquito Creek/Pymatuning Lowlands61b
Low Lime Drift Plain61c
Erie Gorges61d
Summit Interlobate Area61e

* This code refers to the US EPA's Level 4 ecoregion codes for the continental U.S., see here.

About the Erie Drift Plain

The Erie Drift Plain is a region located southeast from Lake Erie, mostly located within northeast Ohio, but extending also into northwestern Pennsylvania and the southwesternmost corner of New York state.

This region has a humid continental climate with severe winters, but a significant moderating effect from Lake Erie. Although the coldest temperatures here can be harsh, the growing season is longer due to the lake's influence. The lake also contributes to greater cloud cover and snowfall. The terrain consists of a dissected plateau with low hills, scattered terminal moraines from glaciation, and abundant wetlands. The underlying substrate consists of sandstone and shale covered by glacial outwash.

Originally, this area was mostly forested, with the dominant type being beech-maple forests, with some mixed oak forests consisting of red oak, white oak, and shagbark hickory, as well as some mixed mesophytic forest consisting mostly of sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech, and eastern hemlock. Swampy lowland areas were covered in elm-ash forests, and there were some open wetlands.

This area is well-suited to agriculture due to a combination of relatively fertile soils, long growing season, and protection from drought. Nowadays, this area has been mostly cleared for agriculture, with dairy farming being dominant, and there also being some production of forage crops and grain for feed. There are also a lot of small-scale forestry plantations. There is significant urbanization here, with industrial activity in the cities. Larger cities include Akron, Youngstown, and Canton, all in Ohio, and the region also includes part of the metro areas of Cleveland and Erie, although not the central part of these cities. Few natural forests remain, and there has been some draining of wetlands, although numerous natural wetlands still exist.

This area is bordered to the southeast by the Western Allegheny Plateau, and to the northwest by the Eastern Great Lakes Lowland in a narrow strip along Lake Erie, which also extends farther to the northeast. At the very east this region is bordered by the more rugged Northern Allegheny Plateau. To the west, it is bordered by the Eastern Corn Belt Plains.

References

1. Wiken, E., Griffith, G. "North American Terrestrial Ecoregions - Level III", Commission for Environmental Cooperation, (2011) Web.