upland forest

Upland seems to have been a nautical term, referring in general to the country lying away from the sea, or to the interior and higher part of a landmass, perhaps far from the coast. The gradient from coastline to upland may be sudden, as it is with the Chugach Range and its spruce forests of south-central Alaska, or gradual in the extreme, as in localities along the Gulf Coast. Within the interior region, however, upland also refers to ground that is higher than surrounding plains and valleys. Differing weather and soil conditions, and differing levels of exposure to the “elements,” produce upland forest growth distinct from that of the lowlands. In the Florida Panhandle, for example—and generally speaking—the palmetto gives way to the (threatened) longleaf pine, and farther northward in Alabama and Georgia, to the loblolly pine and hardwoods of the Piedmont Plateau at the southern reach of the Appalachians. But of course, the Piedmont has its own detail of uplands, where pine, oak, and hickory are most common, and its riparian lowlands, where cottonwood, sycamore, river birch, and alder hold sway.

John Keeble