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Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to 500–600 m. Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains.
Probably the best-known highlands in the anglosphere are the Scottish Highlands in northern Scotland, the mountainous region north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault. The Highland council area is a local government area in the Scottish Highlands and Britain's largest local government area.
Many countries have areas that are officially or unofficially referred to as highlands. Other than Scotland, these include parts of Tibet, Ethiopia, Canada, Kenya, Eritrea, Yemen, Ghana, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Syria, Turkey and Cantabria.
Synonymous terms used in other countries include high country, used in New Zealand, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Southern Queensland in Australia, and parts of the United States (notably Western North Carolina), highveld, used in South Africa and Roof of the World, used for Tibet.
The highlands in Australia are often above the elevation of 500 m. These areas often receive snowfall in winter. Most of the highlands lead up to large alpine or sub-alpine mountainous regions such as the Australian Alps, Snowy Mountains, Great Dividing Range, Northern Tablelands and Blue Mountains. The most mountainous region of Tasmania is the Central Highlands area, which covers most of the central-western parts of the state. Many of these areas are highly elevated alpine regions.
The Ozarks cover nearly 120,000 km2 (47,000 sq. mi.), making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. This region contains some of the oldest rocks in North America.
A spine of mountains runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region.
The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are rain forests, where the elevation reaches 2,500 m (8,200 ft) above sea level. The Sri Lanka montane rain forests represent the montane and submontane moist forests above 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in the central highlands and in the Knuckles mountain range. Half of Sri Lanka's endemic flowering plants and 51 percent of the endemic vertebrates are restricted to this ecoregion.
The highlands of Iceland cover about 40% of the country and are mostly inhospitable to humans. They are generally considered to be any land above 500 m.
The mountainous natural region of the Thai highlands is found in Northern Thailand.
Highland continents—or terrae—are areas of topographically unstable terrain, with high peaks and valleys. They resemble highlands on Earth, but the term is applied to much larger areas on other planets. They can be found on Venus, Mercury, Mars and the Moon.
- University of California Museum of Paleontology (1995 and later), upland, UCMP Glossary
- Dotson, Brandon; Gurung, Kalsang Norbu; Halkias, Georgios; Myatt, Tim, eds. (2009). "The Tibetan Gesar Epic as Oral Literature". Contemporary Visions in Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the First International Seminar of Young Tibetologists (1st ed.). Chicago: Serindia Publications, Inc. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-932476-45-3.
... for the highlanders for eastern Tibet
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- Alec, Le Sueur (2003-01-01). The hotel on the roof of the world : from Miss Tibet to Shangri-La. RDR Books. ISBN 1571431012. OCLC 845721671.
- Rao, Sachin. "Travel: Shillong, India - 'Scotland of the east'". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "The Highlands of Venus". HyperPhysics. Retrieved 18 July 2014.