Long-term Dynamics of Old-growth Hemlock and Maple Forests

Sylvania Wilderness and the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Upper Michigan have large tracts of old-growth forest that has never been logged, dominated by eastern hemlock, sugar maple, and yellow birch with some American basswood, red maple, white pine, ash, ironwood, and white cedar. The Center is following the changes on four large mapped plots that were established in 1988-1990 by the Margaret Davis Lab at the University of Minnesota. These four plots total 27 ha in area and were recensused during 1995-1996 and 2006. We plan to continue recensus them periodically to follow changes in the forests caused by tree mortality, growth, and effects of deer grazing, invasive species, and climate change. 

Selected publications

Salk, T.T., L.E. Frelich, S.Sugita, R. Calcote, J.B. Ferrari, and R. Montgomery. 2011. Poor recruitment is changing the structure and species composition of an old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest. Forest Ecology and Management 261:1998-2006. [doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.02.026]

Frelich, L.E., and P.B. Reich. 1999. Neighborhood effects, disturbance severity and community stability in forests. Ecosystems 2:151-166.

Frelich, L.E., R.R. Calcote, M.B. Davis, and J. Pastor. 1993. Patch formation and maintenance in an old growth hemlock-hardwood forest. Ecology 74:513-527.

Frelich, L.E., and C.G. Lorimer. 1991. A simulation of landscape dynamics in old-growth northern hardwood forests. Journal of Ecology 79:223-233.

Frelich, L.E., and C.G. Lorimer. 1991. Natural disturbance regimes in hemlock-hardwood forests of the Upper Great Lakes Region. Ecological Monographs 61:145-164.

Old-growth hemlock forest

Old-growth hemlock forest.  Photo:  Bob Leverett.

Maple forest with white snakeroot

Maple forest with white snakeroot.  Photo:  Bob Leverett.