The habitat zones found within the Appalachian Mountain Range may be classified as follows:
€ Ecozone: Terrestrial
€ Ecosystem: Alpine/ Mountain
€ Region: Nearctic
€ Primary Habitat: Temperate forest
€ Secondary Habitats: Mixed deciduous forest (also known as southern hardwood forest), southern Appalachian forest, transition forest, and boreal forest
The wildlife you might encounter in the Appalachian Mountains includes a wide variety of mammals (moose, white-tailed deer, black bears, beaver, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, racoons, opossums, skunks, groundhogs, porcupines, bats, weasels, shrews, minks), birds (hawks, woodpeckers, warblers, thrushes, wrens, nuthatches, flycatchers, sapsuckers, grouses), and reptiles and amphibians (frogs, salamanders, turtles, rattlesnakes, copperheads).
Geology and History:
The Appalachians were formed during a series of collisions and separations of tectonic plates that began 300 million years ago and continued through the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras. When the Appalachians were still forming, the continents were in different locations than they are today and North America and Europe had collided. The Appalachians were once an extension of the Caledonian mountain chain, a mountain chain that is today in Scotland and Scandinavia.
Since their formation, the Appalachians have undergone extensive erosion. The Appalachians are a geologically complex range of mountains that are a mosaic of folded and uplifted plateaus, parallel ridges and valleys, metamorphosed sediments and volcanic rock layers.
Generally temperate and humid, the climate of the Appalachians presents sharp contrasts. In the Canadian ranges and the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, Arctic and subarctic conditions prevail. Altitudes below 2,000 feet usually have milder weather in the hills of northwestern Georgia and northeastern and north-central Alabama. Snowfall is heaviest in the Shickshocks, Newfoundland's Long Range, and the White Mountains, but Mount Mitchell in North Carolina has recorded more than 100 inches in a single year. Unique in climatic severity is barren, boulder-strewn Mount Washington, which is lashed by some of the world's strongest winds (a gust of 231 miles per hour was recorded there in 1934); temperatures recorded on its summit have never risen above 71° F (22° C). Heavy clouds and haze are common throughout the Appalachians, often frustrating recreational activities and sightseeing but nourishing the abundant plant life and the river system.