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Glaciated Allegheny Hills

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About the Glaciated Allegheny Hills

The Glaciated Allegheny Hills are a small region located in southwestern New York State and extending into north-central Pennsylvania.

This region consists of a deeply-dissected plateau shaped my glaciation. High-elevation regions of erosion-resistant sandstone and shale. The entire region is covered with acidic glacial drift, leading to rocky, acidic, nutrient poor soils. Glaciation also created numerous small lakes that are absent from unglaciated areas to the southwest. The climate here is a humid continental climate with significant influence from Lake Erie in the westernmost portions. The presence of the lake primarily increases precipitation, and does not have as much of a moderating effect on the climate.

This area was probably originally covered with northern hardwood forest, which covered soils with higher moisture content. Here, dominant tree species were American beech, sugar maple, eastern hemlock, American basswood, and tulip tree. Drier, south-facing slopes, covering a smaller total area, feature Appalachian oak forest, with northern red oak, white oak, chestnut oak, shagbark hickory, pignut hickory, and American chestnut. Important understory shrubs in this region include witch hazel, maple-leaf viburnum, shadbush, chokecherry, and flowering dogwood.

There is a small amount of agriculture here, much more than areas to the southwest, but less than areas to the north and east. Significant forest cover remains, some of which is used for timber production. This area is sparsely populated, but more populous than the colder, higher-elevation areas to the southwest. The largest town here is Alfred, NY, with only a few thousand people. There are also some oil fields in the region.

This region is bordered to the northeast by the Glaciated Low Allegheny Plateau, and to the southwest by the Unglaciated High Allegheny Plateau.

References

1. Bryce, S.A., Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Edinger, G., Indrick, S., Vargas, O., and Carlson, D. "Ecoregions of New York (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey (2010) Web.

2. Woods, A.J, Omernik, J.M., Brown, D.D. "Level III and IV Ecoregions of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR (1999) Web.