Ecosystems & Species

Background Information

Changes in climate due to increased greenhouse gasses are expected to alter the composition of ecosystems and species in the Great Lakes region. Areas dominated by wetlands and their associated ecosystems will shrink with the expected increases in strong floods and low summer water levels. Populations of some of the major “poster child” mammals of the region such as the moose may shrink due to increased competition from deer and complications due to increases in deer-related parasites. Finally, the composition of the regions forests are predicted to change as the boreal forest expands northward, cutting into the range of current conifer forests that make up the Northwoods.

Suggested Activities

  1. Climate Change and Ski Resorts
  2. Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit
  3. Phenology of Plants and Birds – The Leopold Legacy
  4. Climate Change Challenges for Northern Forests

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Identify likely migration of plant and animal species and ecosystems in the Great Lakes region, and potential impacts on biodiversity
  • Identify phenological changes over the past 100 years
  • Correlate observed and predicted changes in wildlife, ecosystems and phenology with changes in climate
  • Differentiate between impacts at various time scales (years/decades/centuries/millennia)

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