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North Central Appalachians

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapEPA Code*
Pocono High Plateau62a
Low Poconos62b
Glaciated High Allegheny Plateau62c
Unglaciated High Allegheny Plateau62d

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

About the North Central Appalachians

The North Central Appalachians is a region consisting of two discontinuous pieces in northern Pennsylvania, with the western piece stretching slightly into western New York. The eastern portion of this region constitutes the Poconos. With the exception of a few small pieces, this region mostly escaped recent glaciation, unlike regions to the north.

This area consists of plateaus, high hills, and low mountains. The area is underlain by a mix of sedimentary rocks, including some coal. The region has a humid continental climate with harsh winters and a short growing season, influenced by its high elevation, more northerly location, and distance from large bodies of water; there is a slight seasonality of precipitation, with wetter summers. Overall, this area has higher precipitation than most surrounding areas.

Original forest cover was mostly northern hardwood forest dominated by sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech, and eastern hemlock, with scattered pockets of Appalachian oak forest, and spruce / fir forest at the highest elevations.

There is some forestry here, and some recreation, but overall land use here is minimal. The western region has some coal mining and natural gas extraction. This region has the most intact forest cover of any of the surrounding regions.

The western portion of this region is bordered to the northeast by the lower-elevation, flatter, and more actively farmed Northern Allegheny Plateau, and to the northeast by the lower and much flatter Erie Drift Plain. South of this region, in the west lies the Western Allegheny Plateau, just east of that the Central Appalachians, and east of that the diverse Ridge and Valley region.

The eastern portion of the region also borders the Northern Allegheny Plateau to the northwest, and the Ridge and Valley system to the south, and to the north it also borders a portion of the Northeastern Highlands.

References

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