Skip to Main Content
Homogenization of northern U.S. Great Lakes forests due to land useAuthor(s): Lisa A. Schulte; David J. Mladenoff; Thomas R. Crow; Laura C. Merrick; David T. Cleland
Source: Landscape Ecology. 22: 1089-1103.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (381.05 KB)
DescriptionHuman land use of forested regions has intensified worldwide in recent decades, threatening long-term sustainability. Primary effects include conversion of land cover or reversion to an earlier stage of successional development. Both types of change can have cascading effects through ecosystems; however, the longterm effects where forests are allowed to regrow are poorly understood. We quantify the regionalscale consequences of a century of Euro-American land use in the northern U.S. Great Lakes region using a combination of historical Public Land Survey records and current forest inventory and land cover data. Our analysis shows a distinct and rapid trajectory of vegetation change toward historically unprecedented and simplified conditions. In addition to overall loss of forestland, current forests are marked by lower species diversity, functional diversity, and structural complexity compared to pre-Euro-American forests. Today?s forest is marked by dominance of broadleaf deciduous species--all 55 ecoregions that comprise the region exhibit a lower relative dominance of conifers in comparison to the pre- Euro-American period. Aspen (Populus grandidentata and P. tremuloides) and maple (Acer saccharum and A. rubrum) species comprise the primary deciduous species that have replaced conifers. These changes reflect the cumulative effects of local forest alterations over the region and they affect future ecosystem conditions as well as the ecosystem services they provide.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationSchulte, Lisa A.; Mladenoff, David J.; Crow, Thomas R.; Merrick, Laura C.; Cleland, David T. 2007. Homogenization of northern U.S. Great Lakes forests due to land use. Landscape Ecology. 22: 1089-1103.
Keywordssustainability, land use/land cover change, ecosystem simplification, pre-Euro-American settlement
- Effect of Sugar Maple Root Exudate on Seedlings of Northern Conifer Species
- Effects of Management on the Composition and Structure of Northern Hardwood Forests in Upper Michigan
- Influence of forest management alternatives and land type on susceptibility to fire in northern Wisconsin, USA
XML: View XML