About 95 percent of Ohio was forested before white settlement began in the late 1700s. Since then, most of the forests have been cut, and today second-growth forest covers only 30 percent of Ohio’s land area. The forests are extensive only in the south and east, where the rough terrain has been a hindrance to farming.
Oaks, maples, and hickories are the principal trees in the hardwood forests of Ohio. Other common hardwoods are the beech, tulip tree, black walnut, ash, black cherry, black locust, and sycamore.
The Ohio buckeye is the state tree. Conifers include shortleaf, pitch, and Virginia pines in the south, and white pines and hemlocks in the north. Redcedar occurs throughout the state. In most of central and northern Ohio there are no extensive forests, but woodlots are found on most farms.
Among the small flowering trees and shrubs of Ohio are the redbud, dogwood, large-leaved magnolia, hawthorn, blackhaw, papaw, witch hazel, raspberry, and honeysuckle. Forest wildflowers common in the spring include violets, trilliums (the official state wildflower), mayapples, hepatica, bloodroot, and Dutchman’s-breeches. Fall flowers are especially common in the open fields and include goldenrod, black-eyed Susan, aster, thistle, sunflower, gentian, and Queen Anne’s lace.
Originally, Ohio had many large game animals, including the bison, elk (or wapiti), white-tailed deer, black bear, timber wolf, and cougar. Beaver and mink were common along the streams. The white-tailed deer and beaver are now the only large mammals found in Ohio. However, small mammals, such as the fox, raccoon, skunk, muskrat, opossum, squirrel, and rabbit are common. Ohio lies in the Mississippi Flyway, a major route for migrating birds, large numbers of which, including species of duck, goose, tern, plover, and gull, pass through the state. Other species, such as robin, brown thrasher, and ruby-throated hummingbird, nest or winter in Ohio. Year-round residents include the cardinal, blue jay, sparrow, crow, starling, and English sparrow.
Among the reptiles of Ohio are turtles, lizards, and snakes. Poisonous snakes native to the state are the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake, and the massasauga. Fish include carp, wall-eyed pike, muskellunge, freshwater drum, yellow perch, and catfish. Bass is the most popular game fish. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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