Land Ecology

Diversity of forest ecosystems contribute immensely to the prosperity and quality of life — cleaner air and water, and by reducing soil erosion. Economically, significant trees like quaking aspen, yellow birch, jack pine, red pine, and white pine may no longer be able to grow in the Great Lakes region because summers may become too warm. Other trees like black walnut and black cherry may eventually migrate northward into the region-given enough time. Productivity may ultimately increase, but only after a decline during the transition (a dieback phenomenon), as communities adjust to changing environment. Because managed land use accounts for as much as three-quarters of the land area of nature ecosystems more information is needed on both the impacts that current land management has on the ability of vegetation communities to respond and the how the dynamics of land use and management will interact with climate change. download Land Ecology workshop here

Bird Migrations and Distributions
The Great Lakes region is the only place in the world where the endangered Kirtland´s Warbler breeds. This species nests in young (5-23 years old) jack pine stands with specific vegetation characteristics found mainly in areas of northern lower Michigan. The Great Lakes region is important for many migrating birds as well.


1994-2003: The STASH model suggests a gradual retreat of aspen, birch, and pine trees from the southern part of its range due to the predicted rise in summer temperatures *Green represents actual range, grid points represent predicted range of STASH model.


2025-2034: White pine and yellow birch will likely disappear from the southern Wisconsin and northern lower Michigan
2090-2099: Red pine may retreat from the area almost completely by the end of the century—and may be found only in the Keweenaw peninsula of Michigan and the extreme northeastern corner of Minnesota