About the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP)
The Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) Ecoregion is characterized by a relatively flat topography, with large expanses of open peatlands and forested lowland swamps. Today, the majority of the landscape is still forested, except for highly productive agricultural or pastoral lands occurring on ground moraines and the clay lake plain in the eastern most part of the peninsula (Albert, 1995).
Within the EUP Ecoregion the climate can be generally characterized as cooler and more variable than Lower Michigan, and compared to areas of equal latitude in the state, the winters are warmer and the summers are cooler. Lake effect snow and rain are characteristic near the Great Lakes shorelines, especially Lake Superior, and because of this influence the Eco-Region has more evenly distributed rainfall.
Intensive logging, beginning with white pine in the late 1800's then moving to hemlock, northern hardwoods, and other species has resulted in major changes in forest types and composition in the EUP. According to Albert's Regional Landscape Ecosystems of Michigan 1995, Pre-European settlement vegetation (Circa 1800) consisted of diverse forests, including northern hardwood forest, jack pine barrens, white pine-red pine forest, hardwood- conifer swamp, conifer swamp and muskeg. Where bedrock was exposed at the surface, grassland communities were present, and extensive Great Lakes marshes were dominant along the shoreline. Windthrow and fire were common and important natural disturbances on the landscape.
Ecologically significant communities within the EUP Ecoregion include Alvar, which is a globally rare grassland plant community growing on thin soils over limestone or dolomite. Other state and globally significant communities include patterned fens, Great Lakes marsh, wooded dune and swale complex, caves of karst origin and cobble beaches.
Associated geological landforms of significance include the Niagara escarpment, the Munising formations of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls, and the Mackinac breccia formation of Castle Rock. Endangered, threatened and special concern wildlife in the Eco-Region include the gray wolf, bald eagle, osprey, common loon, red-shouldered hawk, Lake Huron locust, moose, lake sturgeon and yellow rail. Plants of conservation concern include Michigan monkey flower, Lake Huron tansy, Pitcher's thistle, Dwarf Lake Iris, Houghton's goldenrod and butterwort to name a few. In addition, the forests of the EUP Eco-Region are recognized as critical habitat for Neotropical migratory songbirds (Albert, 1995) and the area of Whitefish Point in particular a large migratory bird pathway.
Abundant groundwater resources in the EUP produce high quality trout streams, springs and unique wetland types. Numerous inland lakes, kettle holes and warm water streams are interspersed throughout the landscape. In addition, the EUP is the only region in the state that is bordered by three of the Great Lakes- Huron, Michigan and Superior.
The extensive forests of the EUP Ecoregion are managed as either national or state forest, with large areas of private forestland. Private forestland includes commercial forest operations as well as individual land ownership. It is all of our responsibilities as land managers, landowners and stewards to ensure the sustainability of the EUP Eco-Region's natural resources for present and future generations.