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Green Mountain Foothills

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About the Green Mountain Foothills

The Green Mountain Foothills, sometimes also referred to as the Champlain Hills, is a transitional region between the Champlain Lowlands to the west, and the Green Mountains to the east. It stretches from northern Vermont into southern Quebec.

This region consists of hills and low, open mountains, with a few ponds and lakes throughout. The bedrock consists of a mix of mica schist and phyllite (further metamorphosed slate), conglomerate, quartzite, and greenstone (a form of metamorphosed basalt), with the addition of some loamy glacial till, and sand and gravel from kame deltas.

The original vegetation here was probably a mix of northern hardwood forest, hemlock-northern hardwood forest, and red oak-northern hardwood forests, with sugar maple, American beech, yellow birch, hemlock, and northern red oak as dominant trees. Lower elevations in the west probably supported some maple-ash-hickory-oak forest, with sugar maple, white ash, red maple, shagbark hickory, northern red oak, and white oak. On hilltops and areas with the bedrock close to the surface, there were some areas of dry oak-hickory-hophornbeam forest. Floodplains featured forests with silver maple and ostrich fern on more flood-prone sites, and sugar maple and ostrich fern on slightly less flood-prone sites.

Historically this region was heavily utilized for agriculture, but, as with most of New England, much of agriculture here has been abandoned, and greater forest cover has returned. Most of the remaining agriculture here is dairy farming and associated hay and feed corn. There is also a small amount of rural residential development.

This region is bordered to the west by the ecologically-distinct Champlain Lowlands, which is still more intensively farmed nowadays, and to the east by the more rugged, higher-elevation Green Mountains/Berkshire Highlands.

References

1. Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Bryce, S.A., Royte, J., Hoar, W.D., Homer, J.W., Keirstead, D., Metzler, K.J., and Hellyer, G. "Ecoregions of New England (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey (2009) Web.