Great trip report once again. The question of where to classify Delaware as region is an interesting one. We have discussed this topic before: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/bigtre ... isions.htm
In that thread I proposed:
Breakdowns of naturally occurring phenomena and features should be based upon natural break points in the continuum. I feel, if you are looking at zones based upon latitude, there really are three zones for consideration in the eastern US. I would break the data into these three sets.
A northern zone: Including NY and New England, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
A Mid-transition zone with mixed forest types: Including PA, OH IN, IL, MO, KY, WV, VA, MD, DC, DE, NJ
A southern zone: NC, TN, ARK, LA, Miss, AL, SC, GA, and FL (except for extreme southern FL).
Again all of the forest types intermingle, but the political boundaries cited seem to match reasonably well to the three zones I delineated. When the boundaries are variable north and south with intermingling, a political boundary that matches fairly well is as good as a latitude boundary that doesn't match any better. There are also some practical and common usage considerations which would favor political boundaries also.
The basic boundaries of the forests are not so much north south as NE-SW and linked to geographical/climatic zones. There is a northern zone as defined above, Appalachian Mountains, Western Plateau regions, Midwestern Plains, and Southern coastal plain.
My Northern Zone included most of the Northern Hardwoods, Boreal Forest, Northern Savannah, and some maple-basswood.
The Middle Zone included many different forest types, both northern and southern and included most of the northern pine-oak, most of the beech-maple, much of the oak-hickory, and some mixed Appalachian among other fragments.
The Southern Zone included almost all of the Southern hardwood, a big chunk of the Oak-Hickory, Mixed Appalachian, and Southern Mixed Pine-Oak.
This is really an oversimplification but one way to look at it. Still I find myself lumping PA with the northeast in many posts. There isn't really any good match for forest region versus political boundaries. You should follow the complete thread to get some of the back and forth. Perhaps the topic could be broken out and revisited here with more views from other people.
The other idea I really liked was by Darian Copiz. He wrote:
I would propose using the NatureServe ecological systems:
http://www.natureserve.org/publications ... ystems.jsp
"Ecological systems represent recurring groups of biological communities that are found in similar physical environments and are influenced by similar dynamic ecological processes, such as fire or flooding"
The full document is here:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/usEc ... ystems.pdf
and it features a nice map with reasonable boundaries:
On this map Delaware and southern New Jersey are part of the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain, while southern Pennsylvania is Central Interior and Appalachian.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky