Recent collaborative project identifies vernal pools on state forest lands in Michigan

A year-long project to identify vernal pools was recently conducted by Michigan State University (MSU), the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Verso Corporation. Vernal pools, which are small, temporary bodies of water that form in shallow depressions, provide habitat for many species of conservation interest. Results from the collaborative project are summarized in a report titled Identifying and Mapping Vernal Pools on State Forest Lands in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which was recently released by the study participants.

The project involved locating vernal pools in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with emphasis on state forest land, including land from which companies procure wood for pulp and paper production. The goal of the project was to enhance understanding of the distribution and ecology of vernal pools in this part of the country, and how to effectively manage and conserve them. Results of the project are likely to benefit forest managers, the state and other partners in forest planning, professionals in logging and wood procurement, and participants in forest certification programs.

Through the use of aerial photo assessments and field reconnaissance with ground verification, the project partners were able to locate a significant number of vernal pools on state forest lands that had not been previously identified. The project also mapped the pools and compiled information about them in a database. In three different counties, more than 200 vernal pools were also surveyed. In total, more than 1,300 potential vernal pool locations across nearly one quarter million acres have been mapped and identified. 

Collaborators in the vernal pools project will not only use their findings to facilitate conservation and management, but will likely use their identification process to locate additional vernal pools in other parts of the state. 

For a copy of the report, please contact John Beebe at the NCASI Northern Regional Center.


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