Oak-hickory forest

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Oak-hickory forest is a type of North American forest ecosystem, and an ecoregion of the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome.


It has a range extending from Rhode Island and southern New York, west to Iowa, and south to Northern Georgia. Smaller, isolated Oak-Hickory communities can also be found as far west as North Dakota, south in Florida and in northeast Texas, and north to southern Maine and Ontario.

Dominated by nut-bearing oak and hickory species of trees, the Oak-hickory forest has the largest range of any deciduous forest ecosystem in eastern and central North America.

Natural history

The current oak-hickory forest includes the former range of the Oak-Chestnut Forest region, which encompassed the northeast portion of the current oak-hickory range. When the American Chestnut population succumbed to invasive fungal blight in the early 20th century, those forests shifted to an oak and hickory dominated ecosystem.


Key indicator tree and shrub species of the oak-hickory forest include red oak, black oak, scarlet oak, white oak, Chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), Pignut hickory (Carya glabra), Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), blueberry, Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and hawthorn.

Bird and animal species include the gray squirrel, flying squirrel, chipmunk, blue jay, and wild turkey.


  • Cronin, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. Hill and Wang, New York, 2003.
  • Kricher, John. A Field Guide to Eastern Forests. Houghton-Mifflin, Boston, 1998.
  • "Percent of Forests in Oak-Hickory Groups, 1992." Map, United States Department of Agriculture, 1992.