It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Questions regarding the Flora and Fauna on the island.

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treeplanter
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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by treeplanter » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:59 am

From what I've read, logging never has been a major deal on the island. While there was a large pulp operation operating in the lowlands in and around Siskiwit Bay in the 1930's (which help start the1936 burn), big-time commercial logging, like what was found all around the Great Lakes in the late 1880's to early 1900's, didn't happen on Isle Royale (but of course, there was local logging to furnish wood for cabins, firewood, mine timbers, etc.). In fact, the extensive hardwood forests found on the SW part of the island are largely virgin timber, never been cut.

As for the original forest, it pretty much mirrors what you see today. After Michigan became a state in 1837, officials contracted with surveyors to survey the state (Isle Royale too). Besides establishing townships, section lines and the like, the surveyors also took notes as to the forest they saw as they criss-crossed the island. The SW part of the island was primarily northern hardwood (even more than today) with the rest being boreal forest (spruce, balsam fir, aspen and white birch). A look a the the 1847 forest vegetation map is quite interesting.

As for forest fires, the NPS has a let-burn philosophy unless the fire threatens to greatly increase in size, then they'll send in fire personnel to stop it. We should also note that forest fires are a natural part of the boreal forest ecosystem. While we may hate to see them, this is how the forest regenerates itself. Indeed, the extensive jack pine forest that exists on Saginaw Point can trace it's origins to a forest fire in the 1930's or so (nobody ever goes here, which is too bad, it's one of the most unique favorite forest types you'll find on the island).

Interesting discussion.


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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by tree rattt » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:28 am

Treeplanter, very interesting! I was opperating under the assumption that the island was decimated like all of the other forests of the day.thanks for the tip on saginaw point....have to check it out sometime. Interesting that the forest hasn't changed too much. Makes one wonder about scientific assumptions......I mean projections.knowing that it is still has a large portion of virgin timber made the isle a little more beautiful for me!


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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:09 pm

Fire is another good example of my earlier question. Do the fire fighting decisions take into account how the fire was started, say lightening vs a negligent campfire or smoker? The expected damage would also play into decision regardless of source (e.g. why spend thousands to mobilize if the damage is expected to be minimal) but I'm wondering what how the source plays into the decision making process.
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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by Tom » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:13 pm

Midwest Ed wrote:Do the fire fighting decisions take into account how the fire was started, say lightening vs a negligent campfire or smoker?
Yes. Last year when we were on the Isle my camping party extinguished a wildfire caused by someone else's negligent campfire. After reporting it to the rangers, they quickly sent a crew to ensure it was out, and then interviewed us. The lead ranger for fire prevention mentioned that they "put out the ones people start" and monitor the ones that nature creates. They don't want humans unduly interfering with what nature can do on her own...


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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:09 pm

Tom,

That philosophy plays into the earlier point we were reflecting upon. If man played a role in the downfall of the wolves then similar to the decision to fight man-made fires, should man also interject himself into correcting this (wolf) negligence? Now, the wolf situation is not as cleanly or directly discernible as a single fire, but still.
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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by tree rattt » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:07 pm

Sounds like a nail on the head to me.dog or match ....human damage is still interference in a hands off environment! My feeble mind thinks that what man broke should be fixed! Sounds like a sort of a double standard.what are they going to do with 1500 moose in a few years? By the time the moose are done they will be able to open up the Isle Royal Golf Club......tee times always available!:.of course they could always sell lottery tickets for a november hunt!!! No better predator then man :twisted: .after all after the wolves completely die off because of mans actions, the moose overpopulate and destroy the vegetation , which in turn causes soil erosion with water pollution with fish die out.sounds like a non interference violation. Yes a bit dramatic I know ....but still on small scales true to a point. It all boils down to a careless individual that broke the law! Just like not snuffing and watering down a fire.Each of us is responsible for each other as well as ourselves. leave no trace, that is what we believe. without LNT precious things are destroyed! 20 years ago I helped built 2 campsites on the ice age trail, to see what irresponsible people have done to these places brings a tear to my eye and sorrow to my heart.I can only imagine how some feel that have been going up for 10,20,30+ years.

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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by Tightlines01 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:45 pm

Tom wrote:
The lead ranger for fire prevention mentioned that they "put out the ones people start" and monitor the ones that nature creates. They don't want humans unduly interfering with what nature can do on her own...
I'm sure there is a good reason and logic behind it, but I don't necessarily understand. Seems like the idea behind let it burn is to reduce the fuel for a large scale fire, reducing the severity of a large scale natural fire. Not saying its wrong, just don't understand the difference.

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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by tree rattt » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:42 pm

It is just another form of a fire break by allowing all of the fine fuels and dead falls to be consumed. Plus added bonus the few species that need fire to reproduce are then allowed to grow...many of these species are very fast growing species.first one to the top gets the sun and nutrients! This creates a green forest with little fuel to allow another wildfire. Combined with lakes rivers and the rock outcrops there are some natural firebreaks.......as long as the wind doesn't get too strong or find enough fine fuels to start generating its own wind or draft. Considering there is no logging it is about the only forest management tool they have.a little fire is a good thing.....alot well bad bad bad! Many of us used to use a practice every spring we would burn our fields. This kept fields as fire breaks...not to mention a heck of a lot of fun.this practiced has died out recently.one neighbor had his fire get away, burned over 20 of my 40 acres.to this day 25 years later one can see a big difference when crossing the old fire line.one side has dead fall, dead trees, snags and the like. The other side young healthy trees few dead trees and almost no logs or fine fuels.

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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by Redbad » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:40 am

I understand why the NPS would take the position of not doing anything about the wolves and letting nature take its course. On the other hand, ISRO has had a long history of human intervention with the wildlife on the island. Up to the 1920's or so, woodland caribou were on the island and there were no moose (or wolves). The caribou died out or were killed off by humans. White tailed deer were introduced to the island during the hotel period and they died out or were killed off by humans. Lynx were resident historically and they died out or were killed off. More recently, Parvovirus was accidentally introduced into the wolf population on ISRO by park visitors with dogs.

I really would not want to see the habitat devastation that will take place when the moose population is unchecked by wolves or a bunch of starving moose looking for the last available browse. Hopefully an ice bridge will form and a few hungry wolves will travel to ISRO from the mainland instead of the other way around.


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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by treeplanter » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:11 pm

Just a bit more on virgin timber that can be found on Isle Royale. The figure I’ve seen in the literature is that about 10% - 15% of the island is considered old-growth. This equals to about 13,000 - 20,000 acres, most of which is found on the SW part of the island. Almost all of the timber that is found east of Lake Desor (almost entirely boreal forest) has been burned at least once since 1840 or so (from what I’ve read, the common practice of the mining exploration era was to burn off the forest and then look for copper veins on/in the exposed bedrock. The shallow soils in the central and NE part of the island made that easy).

As for vegetation past and present, I do get a kick out of people who hike the Greenstone and notice all of the hard maple seedlings on the forest floor from Lake Desor to east of Ishpeming Point and take that as evidence of climate change (we didn’t see maple there in 1970, so it must be that the climate’s changing!). A look at the 1847 vegetation map taken from the “Ives Survey Notes” shows that northern hardwoods grew on the Greenstone Ridge from Windigo all the way to about Hatchet Lake. Because of forest fires (especially the 1936 burn), the maple in this area was (mostly) eliminated and replaced by aspen and white birch. The maple seedlings we now see means the forest is reverting back to what the surveyors found in 1847.

As for the Saginaw Point jack pine stand, this is best accessed by kayak. Find a good beach, put in, and take a walk up into the forest. Best I can tell it’s about 1,000 acres. Hard to get to, but well worth the trip. It’s unlike any other forest type you’ll find on the island.


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Re: It appears a decision has been made for the near term.

Post by tree rattt » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:11 pm

Well most don't understand how a forest works.They don' t understand that birch, balsam, aspen , and jack pine are fast growing and short lived. Thats why we call them pioneers.Then over time all the conditions emerge for the climax forest to take hold. soil and nutrients building up over time allow proper moisture balance and the appropriate sunlight level, suddenly there is a new forest.it is truly impressive how long tree seeds and runners can lay dormant until the stars aline .....poof forest.....omg! The sky is falling :shock: forest management is not a very old science it was considered a resource that was endless in the 1800's.I deal with the public daily on tree related issues, the myths an misconceptions are mind boggling .....sometimes I wonder where these things come from.based on forest management practices and limited food and basic habitat for the animals on the island, one would hope for the near term is a short time.I believe most of us wish they would heed the warning of the boys doing the moose and wolf study.they are the foremost scientist doing the study, if they say that the time is up it is up.

Anybody wanna volunteer to capture and haul a new wolf pack across?:o:P




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