The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain (MACP) occupies 26 million acres east of the fall line between the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain, south of the James River in Virginia and north of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. About two thirds of this very rich ecoregion is in North Carolina. This is the land of longleaf pines and bald cypress trees; of bottomland hardwood forests and swamps; of pocosins and palmettos; of Carolina Bays and Carolina Sandhills; of the Outer Banks and some of the world’s best and most active coastal dunes, sounds, and estuaries; of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and the now-extinct Carolina Parakeet; of Venus Fly-traps and Red Wolf. Natural fires, floods, and storms are so dominant in this region that the landscape changes very quickly. Rivers routinely change their courses and emerge from their banks. The Outer Banks have been described as a “river of sand” flowing south along the continental shelf. This is an ecoregion where the xeric environments of sand dunes and ridges share ecotones with the hydric environments of sounds, pocosins, and Carolina Bays. As an ecoregion, occurring at the interfaces between continent and ocean and between tropical and temperate climates, the MACP is as ecologically dynamic as any. Natural communities move around, and new species appear on the biological horizon. The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain is almost a factory for the generation of new and novel species, communities, and ecological patterns and processes.

As a result, the MACP is incredibly diverse. The ecoregional planning team working on this region established goals for 561 targets (97 animal species, 224 plant species, 240 plant community types). We evaluated over 9,000 occurrences for these 561 targets! In the end, 90 sites were selected for immediate conservation planning and implementation. 28 additional, small, typically isolated sites were identified for future verification.


 Key Resources