This is long overdue, but I’m finally trying to do a deep dive into what my home landscape would have looked like. The land cover would have been broadly (i.e. statewide) hardwood-dominated forest composed of “oak, tulip-poplar, eastern hemlock, beech, loblolly pine, white pine & American chestnut.” However, a more detailed account records a fascinating prehistory:
By 400 CE, holly, chestnut, and ericaceous shrubs, indicative of drier climates, dominated the landscape and remained dominant until European settlement approximately 1200 years later (Brush 1986)…Orwig and Abrams (1994) found that pre-settlement vegetation (prior to 1721) in Piedmont and Coastal Plains forests was a mixture of oak, primarily red and white oak, although black oak was of minor importance as were hickory species. The Northern Piedmont region has been classified by Küchler (1964) as oak–hickory and by Braun (1950) as oak–chestnut. Before the early 17th century, native vegetation was composed mainly of oak and hickory; chestnut, yellow poplar, ash, walnut, and elm were associated species; and maple was dominant on wet bottomlands of the Piedmont (Loeb 1987).Fulton, S. 2012.
The adapted potential natural vegetation GIS layer lists my area as Appalachian oak. However, a data basin map more coarsely shows it at the border between Appalachian oak and oak/hickory/pine, which I think is more accurate.