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Atlantic Highlands

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapCEC Code*
Northeastern Highlands5.3.1
North Central Appalachians5.3.3

* This code refers to the CEC's Level 3 ecoregion codes for North America, see here.

About the Atlantic Highlands

The Atlantic Highlands is a level II ecoregion by the US EPA's definition. The parts in Canada are called the Atlantic Maritime Ecozone. In the U.S. the region extends through inland Maine, most of New Hampshire and Vermont, and includes the Adirondacks and Catskills in NY, and regions in Northern PA, NJ, and bits of CT and MA, covering mostly areas of higher alitude.

This region has a humid continental climate influenced both by its higher altitudes and proximity to the ocean. Coastal areas have a more moderate climate. The soil throughout much of the region is rocky, and the topography steep.

Most of this region is covered by mixed hardwood-coniferous forest, although some mountains reach high enough to have regions of pure coniferous forest and a few have a tree line. The mixed forest usually extends the whole way to the coast, and the only deciduous-dominated forests are on isolated sites. The vegetation represents a transition between more northern boreal forests and the broadleaf deciduous forests farther south and at lower altitudes.

The interior mountainous parts of this region are sparsely populated, but in Canada, this is one of the more populous ecozones, making up about 9% of it total population and 6% of the urban population. The largest population center is Halifax. Agriculture has historically had some importance in this region, although it is limited by the poor soils; farming has decreased in recent years. Forestry and tourism are major activities throughout all this region, both the Canadian Maritime portion and the part in the U.S.

This region is surrounded on most sides by the Mixed Wood Plain, with which it is interwoven in a patchy pattern, the Mixed Wood Plains covering lower altitudes and having a slightly milder climate and slightly richer soils. The portion of this region in Pennsylvania borders the Appalachian Forests to the south, and the portion in New Jersey shares a small border with the Southeastern USA Plains to the south.