Join Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) ecologists Josh Cohen and Brad Slaughter for a discussion of important natural features of Michigan’s Great Lakes coastal region. In 2015, Josh and Brad conducted surveys throughout the coastal zone to document areas of significant ecological importance, including examples of several imperiled natural communities such as lakeplain prairies and oak savannas, dune complexes, and Great Lakes marshes. The goal of these surveys was to collect information on the ecological integrity of these remnant natural areas to provide stakeholders, including land trusts, local, and state governments, direction on the conservation and management of these important ecological resources.
Vernal pools are small, isolated, temporary wetlands that are important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems. Because these wetlands dry up and are fishless, they provide critical breeding habitats for amphibians and invertebrates, including species that rely on vernal pools for their survival. Vernal pools also provide habitat for a number of other plants and animals, including rare and declining species. They also provide important ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, water storage and infiltration, groundwater recharge, and flood control. Due to their small size and temporary nature, vernal pools can be difficult to identify on the landscape, receive little protection under current wetland regulations, and are vulnerable to climate change, development, and other land uses. Conservation of vernal pools requires increased awareness, knowledge, and protection of these unique and important wetlands. This webinar will provide information on what vernal pools are, why they are important for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems, and how to identify, manage, and protect them, including recent efforts to develop an effective and efficient method for detecting and mapping vernal pools using aerial photo interpretation, radar, and GIS modelling. A statewide, citizen science-based effort to map and monitor vernal pools and how you can get involved also will be discussed.
In order to eradicate a plant species you first have to know where it is. Although the best approach is to have an expert walk through the area of interest, this is costly and impractical because of the limited ability of people to survey large areas. Imaging technologies can help support the mapping of invasive the plant species of interest whether the purpose is to save them or eradicate them.
What is algae? What are harmful algal blooms? Why do they occur? What can we do about them? Join me for an overview of what is and is not an algal bloom, what makes them 'harmful' and what the state of science is related to understanding and addressing this problem and its impacts to the Great Lakes.
NIDRM is more than just maps: It is a nationwide, science-based, administrative planning tool that is the product of a process whereby, every five years, the forest health community works together to determine the severity and extent of tree-mortality hazard due to insects and diseases. NIDRM represents 186 individual insect and disease hazard models, integrated within a common GIS-based, multi-criteria framework that can account for regional variations in forest health. Applied to all 50 states, and based on the best-available science and data, NIDRM’s modeling process provides a consistent, repeatable, transparent, and peer reviewed process through which interactive spatial and temporal hazard assessments can be conducted. NIDRM allows for flexible analysis to produce hazard assessments for specific insects and diseases, and can and is being used to inform other agency assessments such as the Integrated Resource Restoration, Watershed Condition Framework, Terrestrial Ecosystem Condition Assessment, Existing Vegetation Classification Mapping, and Inventory, and Hazardous Fuels Prioritization Allocation System.
Japanese knotweed, now a state prohibited plant, is spreading explosively in some areas of southern Michigan. Due to its attractiveness in flower and former intentional planting in many landscapes as a cultivar, the insidiousness and particular challenges of managing this plant are often not recognized until infestations are extensive. Common first approaches like using over-the-counter herbicides and pruning or mowing can actually stimulate its spread. Effective treatments for Japanese knotweed ARE available and involve a combination of community and municipality education and using the right herbicides at the right time. We will present lessons learned and successes in managing Japanese knotweed in Ingham and Clinton Counties, which have taught us how to manage other invasive species more effectively, too!
El Niño is a natural warming of the waters in the equatorial Eastern Pacific that causes major influences on winter weather patterns across much of the globe, particularly in North America. With one of the strongest El Niño events ever recorded currently in progress, Dr. Masters will discuss how such events have influenced past winter weather in the U.S. He will also discuss how the event will affect this winter's weather--keeping in mind that global warming is likely to bring Earth its warmest winter on record this winter and bring jet stream patterns capable of causing periods of intense cold and snow to eastern North America.
Projected climate change may pose challenges to the long-term stability of our forests, so it is important for forest landowners to consider their particular risks, opportunities, and ways to adapt.