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A mesic conifer forest in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Mesic conifer forests are forests of evergreens (conifers) growing in areas
that are not wet or dry, but are mainly moist. These areas include species such
as white pine, hemlock, spruce, and fir. Very slow growth rates and the browsing
of hemlock during winter by white-tailed deer, has limited natural regeneration.
These factors have led to a 78% decline in mesic conifer forests in Michiganís
Upper Peninsula. Mesic conifer forests provide habitat for a variety of
wildlife, including rare species. Many wildlife species use mesic conifers for
thermal protection during winter months, while migrating birds use the understory for nesting and the foraging of insects and seeds during the
remainder of the year. Timber management, which was a major factor leading to
the decline in mesic conifers, can also provide a means for their enhancement
and restoration. Planting, protecting, and/or scarification can all be useful in
the restoration process of mesic conifers. If you are interested in mesic
conifer communities and enhancing wildlife habitat on your property, see the
Upper Peninsula LIP page for more information.