Broadly defined, all of New Jersey’s soils are podzolic soils; that is, they are acidic and contain fairly high amounts of iron oxides. The soils in northern New Jersey are irregular in quality and contain rock fragments and small stones deposited by the continental glaciers of the last Ice Age. The soils of the inner coastal plain, unaffected by glaciation, are the richest in the state, while those of the outer coastal plain are generally infertile. The newer soil classification system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture describes the state’s Appalachian areas as inceptisols, while the coastal plain is characterized as ultisols, common to the Southeast United States.
Most species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish common to the Northeastern United States are found in New Jersey. In recent years black bear have returned to forested areas in northern New Jersey, and coyotes are once again common throughout the state. Other animals found in New Jersey are the white-tailed deer, skunk, raccoon, squirrel, fox, opossum, chipmunk, cottontail, woodchuck, and many types of turtles, snakes, frogs, and toads. The birds include sparrows, mourning doves, warblers, and cardinals. The southern portion of Island Beach State Park, situated on the Atlantic Flyway, is a preserve for both native and migrating species of birds. The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at both Barnegat and Brigantine also are important stopovers for migrating birds along the Atlantic Flyway.
Forests cover 45 percent of New Jersey’s land. Two combinations of tree species are found. In the north the typical forest contains a mixture of oak, hickory, red maple, hemlock, and white birch. In the Coastal Plain, pitch pine, scrub oak, and white cedar prevail. The red cedar is common to both areas. Although the wood is useful commercially, the forests serve mainly for recreation.
Two wilderness areas, Mettler’s Woods and Island Beach, are preserves. Mettler’s Woods, also known as Hutcheson Memorial Forest, a 107-hectare (264-acre) tract of virgin forest southwest of New Brunswick, belonged to the Mettler family for more than 250 years before being purchased by a citizens group and placed under the trusteeship of Rutgers University. It represents the original forest cover typical of the region.
Trees, many of them more than 20 m (70 ft) tall, include oak, hickory, beech, sugar maple, and ash. Shrubs include mapleleaf, viburnum, black haw, arrowwood, and spicebush. Island Beach, a strip of the offshore sandbar extending from Seaside Park to Barnegat Inlet, is a state park 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of natural barrier island ecosystem, including maritime forest, coastal dunes, and tidal marshes. "New Jersey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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