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International Boundary Plateau

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About the International Boundary Plateau

The International Boundary Plateau is a small plateau on the border between the U.S. and Canada, in northern Maine and southeastern Quebec.

This region is a high-elevation plateau, flat in some regions, ranging through rolling terrain to some open hills. Elevations mostly range from 1,000 to 1,600 feet, with the highest point of 1,915 feet, and local relief of 200-600 feet. There are some wetlands, and a few small ponds. The climate is a humid continental climate, with relatively wet conditions year-round, and one of the coldest winters in Maine. There is significant snowfall for over 5 months of the year, and the frost-free season is as short as 90-110 days. This region is relatively low in plant biodiversity due to its cold climate and short growing season.

Original forest cover was mostly spruce-fir forest, with red spruce, white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, paper birch, and yellow birch. Warmer slopes featured northern hardwood forests with sugar maple, American beech, and yellow birch. There were also black spruce bogs, sedge-heath fens, and northern white cedar swamps.

This region is sparsely populated, but utilized for forestry. Although it is still mostly forested, much of the land has been recently cleared and is currently in an early-successional phase of scrubland. In addition to forestry, there is some hunting, fishing, and recreation here. The Canadian side of the border has a more developed road network, is more populated, and also has a small amount of agriculture; the largest town is Saint-Pamphile, Quebec, with under 3,000 people.

This region is bordered to the southwest by the Upper St. John Wet Flats, a similar high-elevation plateau that is more poorly-drained and less hilly. There is a larger border to the southeast with the St. John Uplands, which has significantly more rugged topography.

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.