Where the Woods Are

The first time I came home from Chicago in the spring, after spending most of a year among gray limestone and very little green, I was overwhelmed by plants that seemed to be taking over.  The Woods Hole Institute has analyzed satellite data and produced this image of where the woods are in the United States.  Having grown up in the midst of the large swathe of dark green in the East, which is the Appalachian mountains and foothills, I think of the woods as normal.  Looking at the map, it is clear how unusual it is.

The Appalachians are a billion years old.  There are more kinds of plants and animals here than anywhere except the tropics.  I am so privileged to be here for another Appalachian spring.

2 thoughts on “Where the Woods Are

  1. Thanks for the map link. West Virginia is indeed heavily endowed with a dense forest cover. It’s also low on highly productive agricultural lands. It was interesting to ‘fly’ around the US and view different places where I’ve lived. Nebraska, except for the Platte and Missouri river flood plains, is almost devoid of forest. Washington, where I live now, is heavily forested except for the dry interior. We’re called the evergreen state out here, yet more of our land mass is sagebrush and grasses. Go figure.

  2. I love maps. I remember driving to Seattle from Salt Lake City years ago – eastern Washington is indeed dry and bare. You were still in Nebraska then.

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