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Historical land cover changes in the Great Lakes Region

January 1, 1999

Two different methods of reconstructing historical vegetation change, drawing on General Land Office (GLO) surveys and fossil pollen deposits, are demonstrated by using data from the Great Lakes region. Both types of data are incorporated into landscape-scale analyses and presented through geographic information systems. Results from the two methods reinforce each other and allow reconstructions of past landscapes at different time scales. Changes to forests of the Great Lakes region during the last 150 years were far greater than the changes recorded over the preceding 1,000 years. Over the last 150 years, the total amount of forested land in the Great Lakes region declined by over 40%, and much of the remaining forest was converted to early successional forest types as a result of extensive logging. These results demonstrate the utility of using GLO survey data in conjunction with other data sources to reconstruct a generalized 'presettlement' condition and assess changes in landcover.

Publication Year 1999
Title Historical land cover changes in the Great Lakes Region
Authors K.L. Cole, M.B. Davis, F. Stearns, G. Guntenspergen, K. Walker
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Biological Science Report
Index ID 5210735
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Cooperative Forest Ecosystem Research; Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center; Patuxent Wildlife Research Center