Trees and Shrubs
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is primarily a forested park, and visitors will notice several different forest types as they drive through the park or hike in the backcountry. The national lakeshore lies within the northern hardwood/hemlock/white pine region of the eastern deciduous forest, but it also overlaps with the southern edge of the great coniferous boreal forest to the north and contains trees species of both biomes.
A long-term forest monitoring project was initiated at Pictured Rocks in 2009 in cooperation with the Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network. Researchers sampled 59 vegetation plots distributed over five habitat types and collected data on mature trees as well as saplings, shrubs, and ground level herbs. Tree density was correlated to age and size of various species.
Plots will be revisited every five years. The data will help park managers identify forest regeneration patterns and detect changes that may arise due to human disturbance. In addition to this project, park biologists conduct annual forest surveys to look for invasive pests, defoliation, disease outbreaks, or any other signs that may indicate emerging threats to forest health and integrity.
Did You Know?
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to two arctic disjuncts, plants whose normal range is far to the north. Arctic crowberry and thimbleberry thrive because of the cool and moist microclimates caused by Lake Superior. More...