The Maine North Woods is a region of over 3.5 million acres (14,000 km²) of top forest land in north-western Maine. It includes western Aroostook and northern Somerset, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties. Most of the land is owned by timber corporations. Ownership changes hands quite frequently and is often difficult to determine. Its main products are timber for pulp and lumber, as well as a thriving hunting and outdoor recreation economy. Included within its boundaries are two of the most famous wild rivers of the Northeastern United States — the St. John and the Allagash. The North Maine Woods completely surrounds the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
The Maine North Woods are predominantly forestland consisting of mixed northern hardwoods and conifers, some of it artificially planted after harvesting by the various landowners, While logging can have adverse impacts, natural regeneration typically provides abundant forest growth after an area is logged. About 20-30 years ago when extensive clearcutting was common, some large landowners did planting, but today planting is done usually only when the landowners want to change the species of trees growing on a site. The major tree species are sugar maple, American beech, balsam fir, quaking aspen, Northern white cedar, red spruce, white spruce, black spruce, yellow birch, paper birch,and Eastern white pine. The area is also home to moose, coyotes, beavers, ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer and Black bears. There are official hunting seasons for the grouse, deer and bears, with a state-run lottery system for awarding moose-hunting licences. The Maine North Woods are also home to the endangered Canada lynx, bald eagle and the Furbish lousewort, a rare plant that is found only in the St. John river valley.
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