A northern species, its range closely follows the northern limit of tree growth across North America and extends into the northern Great Lakes region. An early successional species, it is shade intolerant, but does tolerate very acid soils. Northwest Indiana represents the southern limit of its natural range except where it extends into the Appalachian Mountains. Its white peeling bark and graceful form make this a good ornamental tree, though in Indiana it is subject to several serious diseases. An excellent syrup, lighter than maple syrup, is produced from paper birch sap.