The region is rich in Native American history and culture. French voyagers and English explorers traveled the region's truly huge water bodies, such as the Ohio River, Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes. They initiated missionaries, fur trading, and timbering.
Islands of green in a sea of people, the Eastern Region is the most geographically, ecologically, and socially diverse area in the United States. Regional boundaries contain 20 states with over 43% of the nation's population, making it the most urban. Nine of the top 20 metropolitan areas in the U.S. are within the Region's boundary. National Forest boundaries include 24 million acres of land, although only one of every two acres within these boundaries is National Forest land. Management of the 12 eastern National Forests is thus extremely complex.
The Eastern Region is rich in water with over 10,000 lakes, 15,000 miles of streams, and 2 million acres of wetlands. The 12 million acres of national forest system lands are among the largest contiguous blocks of public lands. They are very rich in biological diversity and harbor 605 Regional Forester Sensitive Plants (PDF, 516 KB) and 13 federally threatened or endangered plants (PDF, 91 KB). Community types include: boreal forests; tall grass prairie; pine barrens; shoreline along three Great Lakes; central hardwood forests; glades; bogs; Appalachian foothills; the White Mountains; some of the most extensive virgin forests in the eastern U.S., and so much more.
Rare Plant Conservation Success Stories
- Contributing to the Recovery of Leafy Prairie-Clover in Northeastern Illinois by Growing Plants from Seed and Planting in Restored Dolomite Prairie Habitat
- Discovery of New Hart's Tongue Fern Population
- Hiawatha Native Plant Program Successfully Grows Rare Downy Sunflower
- Midewin and its Plants of Concern Citizen Scientists, Making a Difference for Rare Plants
- Prescribed Burning Promotes Growth of Buffalo Clover
- Protecting Round-leaved Orchis (Amerorchis rotundifolia) on the Hiawatha National Forest
- Protecting Running Buffalo Clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) on the Wayne National Forest and Adjacent Private Land
- Recovery of Robbins' Cinquefoil - A Partnership Success
- Restoration of Douglas Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) in the Great Lakes Region
- Seek and You Might Find! U.S. Forest Service Botanists Locate and Work to Protect a New Population of Federally Threatened Fassett's Locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea)
- Understanding and Conserving Appalachian Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium vanbruntiae)
- Wayne National Forest Partners with Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves to Inventory for Rare Plants
- Wildfire Helps Rare Plants on White Mountain National Forest
- Whats Blooming? Common roadside plants of Wisconsin - a web page at the Wisconsin State Herbarium website. It includes a calendar of flowering, common roadside plants of Wisconsin.
Butterflies of the Shawnee National Forest
The USDA Forest Service Eastern Region partnering with the North American Butterfly Association developed a checklist for butterfly species that may be found on the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois.