2 A region is an area in which natural or human features are similar A region is an area in which natural or human features are similar. Landforms, such as mountains or plains, are a natural feature. Landforms and climate are often related. For example, because mountains rise high above sea level, they have a cool climate.Economic activity is a human feature. For example, an area where many people make their living by farming is an economic region.Other human features are population and culture. For example, the region of Northeastern Ohio is home to many African Americans. Many of their families moved from the South during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. They share a common background and culture.
3 Plains and PlateausThe Great Plains cover the middle of theUnited States and Canada. This flat regionis called as “the Breadbasket.” Wheat, corn,and other grain crops are grown there.In the center of Mexico is a similar regionknown as the Central Plateau where manycrops are grown in the rich soil.Coastal PlainsThe eastern part of Canada has low hillsand coastal plains. These coastal plainsrun along the Atlantic coast in the UnitedStates. Coastal plains surround the Gulfof Mexico. They run along the YucatanPeninsula in eastern Mexico. A thin coastalplain borders the Pacific Ocean in theUnited States and Mexico.
5 MountainsThe Great Plains lie to the east of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains run from the north through Canada and the United States south into Mexico.In Mexico, the Rockies split to form the Sierra Madre ranges. These ranges surround the Central Plateau where most of the population lives.The west coast of Canada is dominated by the Coast Mountains. They rise abruptly from the sea. Nearby is Mount Logan, the second-highest mountain on the NorthAmerican continent.
6 Sierra Madre Mountains Rocky MountainsSierra Madre MountainsWestern Mountains in Canada
8 ClimateThe climate of a region is described by twofactors—precipitation and temperature.The Great Plains has extremes of hot andcold and a wide range of rainfall. TheCentral Plateau of Mexico has a milderclimate, but rainfall also varies.PrecipitationWhy does rainfall vary so much across theGreat Plains and Central Plateau? Areas just to the east of a mountain range tend to be very dry. This is because of the effectmountains have on precipitation.When warm air hits the mountains, it rises and cools. A great deal of rain and snow falls in the mountains. Therefore, the plains that lie just to the east of the Rocky Mountains are very dry. The areas that lie just to the east of the Sierra Madres are also very dry.
11 TemperatureTemperature also varies along the coastalplains. The rays of the sun hit directly onEarth’s middle section. The sun’s rays thatreach the areas of Earth closer to the Northand South Poles hit at an angle. This is whyareas near the equator tend to be warmerthan areas nearer the poles.Temperature also depends on elevation,or how high above sea level you are. Forexample, along the coast of the BajaPeninsula of Mexico the weather is usuallyvery warm. The winters can be severe inMexico’s mountainous areas. Temperaturescan plunge below freezing.Ocean currents also affect temperature.Does all of Canada have a cold climate? No,some regions are mild. For example, parts ofthe Pacific region in Canada are warmed byocean currents.15
12 Resources Affect People Natural resources in an area affect howpeople live and work. A natural resource issomething found in nature that is useful topeople. There are five main types of naturalresources—minerals, fossil fuels, soil andwater, vegetation, and fish and wildlife.Some natural resources are nonrenewable.Once they are used up, they cannot be easilyreplaced. Iron and copper are twononrenewable resources found in NorthAmerica. These two minerals are used inbuildings, automobiles, and many otherproducts. Fossil fuels are burned to produceenergy. Natural gas and oil heat our homes.Coal is burned to produce electricity. Whenthese run out, they cannot be easily replaced.
14 Water is a very important natural resource. Clean drinking water is essentialto our health. Soil is another importantresource. All plants need fertile soil to grow.For example, the Ohio River Valley is aregion with rich soil and good water. TheOhio River Valley includes the area aroundall the streams and smaller rivers that flowinto the Ohio River.The vegetation in an area can also definea region. For example, in forest regions,deciduous trees and evergreens grow. In the Canadian tundra, only small plants grow. The tundra is a region that is bitterly cold much of the time. In desert regions, cactus thrive because they are able to store water during long dry periods.Canadian Tundra
15 Economic Regions A region’s economy often depends on the natural resources available in the area. Forexample, in the Pacific Northwest, manypeople work in forestry. They harvest treesto produce lumber for homes and to makepaper products.Along the ocean coasts of NorthAmerica, fishing is a major occupation.Farming is a major occupation in theGreat Plains. Economic regions can crossthe borders of states and countries.Large reserves of oil and natural gas arefound in North America. Minerals, such asgold and silver, are found there, too.Rich farmlands in the Great Plainsproduce large amounts of grain such aswheat. These crops are shipped worldwide.Ranching is also important in the prairiesof North America.
16 In southern North America, Mexico has many natural resources. It is one of thelargest producers of oil in the world. Thisindustry employs many people. It has richsoil, which is perfect for farming. Mexicoalso has large ranches where horses andlivestock are raised.The waters surrounding Mexico areteeming with fish. Fishermen catch largequantities of tuna and other fish. Mexicansalso make their living in manufacturing.Large factories produce cars, chemicals,clothing, and cement.Another major industry is tourism.People come from many countries to enjoyMexico’s beautiful beaches, fishing, andhistoric areas.
17 Culture is the customs, languages, and Cultural RegionsCulture is the customs, languages, andbeliefs people share. Religion, food, and music are also part of culture. Cultural regions can cross the borders of a state or country.One cultural region in North America iscalled Anglo-America. Here, English is the most common language. Another cultural region is called Latin America. Most people speak Spanish in Latin America.FrenchEnglishSpanish
18 The Spanish arrived in Mexico in the Language # of SpeakersNahuatl ,376,076Yucatec Maya ,000Mixtec ,216Zapotec ,901Tzeltal Maya ,030The Spanish arrived in Mexico in the1500s. They brought their culture with them. Today, most Mexicans still speak Spanish. They practice many Spanish customs.Some native culture does remain, however. For example, 120,000 Purepecha-Tarascan Indians live in one of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. They speak their own language. Also living in these mountains are the Huichol Indians. They are known for colorful paintings and handmade beads. Other native Mexicans blend their own ancient cultures with modern ways.
19 Canada has several different cultural groups. Many French speakers live in the province of Quebec. Some wanted to have a separate country. A vote was held, and the people of Quebec chose not to separate.The Inuit people are native to northernCanada. They also wanted to preserve and promote their culture. On April 1, 1999 Nunavut became a separate Canadian territory. Two native languages, French, and English are spoken there.
20 The landforms, climate, and resources of a region affect the way people live on the land. Why are cities often built near rivers and oceans? If you live near rivers and the ocean, you can easily ship your goods.Why is there so much farming on theGreat Plains and Central Plateau of Mexico? It is because the climate, soil, and available water are right for successful farming.Why is the mining industry so importantin Minnesota and Canada? It is because the natural resources are located there.
21 As we use the land, we are provided with benefits As we use the land, we are provided with benefits. However, we can also create problems. For example, fertilizers and irrigation help the land produce more food. But misuse of chemicals and overuse of water resources can spoil the land.The Saint Lawrence Seaway project isanother example. The Saint Lawrence River was changed in the 1950s. Canals were built and a large lake was created so that large vessels could travel from the Atlantic Ocean all the way through the Great Lakes to Lake Superior.
22 Both Canada and the United States benefitted. For example, natural resourcesmined in Quebec and Minnesota could beshipped to the Atlantic more easily.However, some people lost their landwhen the new lake was formed. Shipscarried animals that never had lived in theGreat Lakes before. Invasive species such as the sea lamprey from the Atlantic Oceanhave damaged the native wildlife. The zebra mussel is another invasive species causing problems. It came all the way from the Caspian Sea in Russia.As humans interact they also changetheir physical environment. People shapethe land and the land shapes the people.