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Southern Great Lakes Forests (WWF ecoregion NA0414)

Bluffton University Nature Preserve, Bluffton, OH
Bluffton University Nature Preserve, Bluffton, OH

Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 4 (nationally important)
Some rare ecological phenomena exist, such as dune systems associated with the Great Lakes and wetland remnants.*

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 1 (critical)
Virtually none of the habitat in this ecoregion remains intact.  Agriculture, and industrial and urban development have heavily impacted this area. Remaining habitat patches are tiny and severely fragmented.  Immense wetlands have been drained and converted to agriculture.*

Characteristic species*
Acer saccharum  (sugar maple)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Tilia americana (basswood)
Quercus species
Carya species
Ulmus spp.
Fraxinus spp.
Acer rubrum (red maple)


Some associated habitats

The Great Black Swamp, northwest Ohio

(l-r) maize field near Benton Ridge, OH; view from the ridge (demarking the edge of the swamp) formed by the ancient southern lakeshore showing a drainage ditch - Benton Ridge, OH; wet woods near Bluffton, OH. hires hires hires
A vast impenetrable swamp covered much of northwestern Ohio until the 1880s.  The flat terrain and muck soils were formed from the bed of the glacial Lake Erie.  A massive effort to cut the forest and dig drainage ditches throughout the area converted this ecosystem almost entirely to agriculture.  Remnant woodlots include typical wetland species such as Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak), Quercus palustris (pin oak), and Acer rubrum (red maple). 
Dunes along the shores of the Lake Huron, Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario

(c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires
Freshwater costal marsh, Pt. Pelee, Ontario

(c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires
Typha latifolia (common cattail)
Mud Lake Bog, near Ann Arbor, MI

(c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires
In the acid environment of this glacial remnant, species typical of the boreal forest, such as Larix laricina (larch) and Picea mariana (black spruce), are present.

* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al.  (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment.  World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 164-166.

Except as noted, images copyright 2002-2004 Steve Baskauf - Terms of use