Eastern Dry Forest

Kent Mason, Photographer / Conservationist

The mountains east of the Allegheny Front/Eastern Continental Divide are in a rain shadow. As the prevailing moist air from the west rises and cools as it moves toward the mountain top, condensation and precipitation occur before crossing the top resulting in much drier air making it to the mountains east of the Allegheny Front. Typical precipitation in this rain shadow is between 20 and 30 inches a year, one half of the western side. A forest with plants and wildlife that thrive in these dryer conditions results. The mountain tops east of the Allegheny front support cedar, red table top pine, prickly pear cactus and dry oak forests. Combine this low rainfall with bedrock shale or "Shale Barren" a very hash growing condition results. This gallery focuses on these drier eastern forests.