The New Jersey Pine Barrens are located along the New Jersey coastline and up the eastern seaboard as far north as Maine. The pine barren thrives in areas were lakes and riverbeds are out washed out over time. Out washing takes place over long periods of time. It can date back as far as the Ice Age in some cases or be caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The New Jersey Pine Barren Pinelands covers more than one million acres in the central and southern portions of New Jersey.
The unusual conditions that the Pine Barrens allow to cultivate are a unique and diverse variety of plant and carnivorous plant life. This diversity inspired Europeans and early settlers to export the unusual new plants they discovered. New Jersey Pine Barrens are areas distinguished for their capacity to maintain their populations of rare Pygmy Pitch Pines and other plant species that depend on fire to reproduce. The Pine Barrens depend on fires to stop the foray of woody species. Since the pine barrens are a source of many fires, the variety of plants and animals that inhabit the pinelands have adapted to the frequent danger. The phenomenon is unique to pine barren areas.
The New Jersey Pine Barrens are important to the ecological system for many reasons. The human element is also a consideration when discussing the importance of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Lenape Indians used pine barrens each year to migrate to the ocean shore using the pines for hunting and camping along their trek. During the industrial age in America, settlers homesteaded, farmed, and developed some of the earliest industries in the barren pines. Cranberrying is one industry that is still dependant on the barren pine.
Much of the New Jersey Pine Barren is protected by state and or federal law. The New Jersey Pinelands Commission oversees and manages the Protection Area of the New Jersey Pine Barren Pinelands Preservation Area. The global significance of the pinelands as an important part of the ecosystems and life cycle of many inhabitants was recognized by the designation of the Pinelands National Reserve in 1978, and as a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve developed in 1983.
Georgian Court University (2004 2009) Plants of the New Jersey,
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Ruset, Ben, (December 7, 2007), An Introduction to the New Jersey
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