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Regional Landscape Ecosystems of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin


The regional ecosystem map is designed to be widely used for scientific studies, for resource inventories of all kinds on an ecological basis, and for a broad range of management activities. It is also useful for comparing the distribution of plant and animal species and their productivity among sections, subsections, and sub-subsections.

Natural landscape features, as well as endangered and rare species, can also be located, designated, and compared on this map. Insect and disease pests may be monitored by section, subsection, and sub-subsection; and the incidence and severity of damage can be compiled by these units and related to the climatic variables. The map may also be used as guide for collecting seeds and for correlating the performance of the progeny with the climatic and soil variables of sections, subsections, and sub-subsections. The incidence and severity of acid deposition can be plotted and compared among ecosystems. The areas of old-growth forests or potential old-growth forests can be identified and compared among sections, subsections, and sub-subsections.

The regional framework can be useful even in the management of local ecosystems. Local tracts exist within and are directly influenced by the ecological conditions (especially climate) of the subsection or sub-subsection in which they occur. Thus, the regional framework is indispensable in planning for the allocation of local ecosystems and can be critical in resolving issues such as old growth and prescribed burning. The sub-subsection (or subsection) units, with their relatively homogeneous macroclimate, provide the framework for further subdivision into local ecosystem units characterized by local landform, microclimate, soil, and vegetation. The marked physiographic and soil differences within each subsection or sub-subsection are discussed in the descriptions below. Such differences (for example, wetlands vs. uplands and clay lake plain vs. sandy lake plain) are the bases for determining local ecosystems at a level desired by the user.

Finally, I want to remind users that the original title for this publication included the word draft to emphasize that this was a first attempt at regionalizing the three-State area and that boundaries would be changing as new information became available. After the fourth revision, I decided that the term draft did not convey the level of research, evaluation, and input from resource professionals that have gone into this publication. The title was changed to Regional Landscape Ecosystems of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: A Working Map and Classification (Fourth Revision: July 1994). I hope the original understanding—that this is a working map and classification that may undergo modification—will remain clear to users.

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