Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why are Moose successfully recolonizing a warming New England when they are losing population in the colder Great Lakes States?

Ed Faison, Glen Motzkin, David Foster and John McDonald and their colleagues at Harvard University's Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts consistantly research and reveal insights about the history of Land Use and species composition of  the Northeast. From 1600's farmers field to to how wolves and cougars ruled the land..........................the scientists and researchers at the Western Massachusetts natural laboratory called Harvard Forest help us understand where our ancestors fit into the land in the 16th, 17th and 18th Century.................and how that use of the land has impacted the forests and meadows we currently inhabit in the present day.

In the most recent peer-reviewed Northeastern Naturalist magazine, Faison and colleagues examine in depth Moose foraging in the Temperate Forests of Southern New England. They reveal how Hemlock and Red Maple are the browse of choice for our most recent Eastern herbivore returnee--(Alces alces L. Moose) and what impact that browing pressure might mean for those species as well for Oak and White pine recruitment into our Eastern woodlands.

Also explored thoroughly and what I concentrate on below with my corresspondence with Ed, Rolf Peterson(wolf and coyote biologist in the Great Lakes region) and Roland Kays(coyote biologist NY State Museum) is why the Moose in Minnessota, Michigan and Wisconsin are in drastic decline when Moose in our Northeastern region are multiplying and returning to historical haunts that they have not occupied since the 19th Century?

Enjoy the read and commentary on the Post above this one by clicking link....................fascinating and revealing!

From: Edward K. Faison

Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 6:44 AM
To: Meril, Rick
Cc: David foster

Subject: Re: Moose foraging in the temp forest of southern new england


Thanks for your note, and I've enjoyed reading your emails and the literature you've sent around over the past year.

Interesting question about coyotes. I have found very little in the literature that mentions coyote predation on moose calves in the northeast or elsewhere; as you probably know, the smaller western coyote does take elk calves, so it seems plausible that the larger eastern coyote could take a moose calf. My sense is that such an event would be uncommon and therefore compensatory rather than additive.

Yes, that is the question about southern New England moose. How are they coping in temperatures that far exceed their documented heat stress thresholds. My guess is that the relative shortage of predators (and lack of hunting) in SNE may be playing a role. Moose can bed down and cool off without threat in this landscape, and therefore may be able to thermoregulate more effectively here than in regions where they have to be more vigilant.

Re: the effects of wolves on moose in the Great Lakes, I would defer to folks like Rolf Peterson and others who are more qualified to answer such questions.

Yes, Quabbin's deer population has been drastically reduced from 11-23/sq. km in the late 1980s to 2-7/sq. km today because of a controlled hunt that began in the early '90s. Hunting was prohibited in the Quabbin for about 50 years prior to that.



Edward K. Faison
Forest Ecologist
Harvard Forest
On Sat, Apr 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Meril, Rick wrote:

Ed and David

As always, enjoy the clean, crisp writing style and information-filled articles coming out of your Harvard Forest team.

Just read your just published Moose impact research in Northeastern Naturalist and had a couple of questions:

-in addition to black bears preying on moose calves in Spring and early Summer, what might u expect the impact of our Northeastern coyote(coywolf) to be from an additive rather than compensatory basis?

- as u state,in the Great Lake States, moose are shedding population due to a synergy of heat stress and winter tics(and worm induced brain disease transmitted by whitetails)..........with southern ne england recording average temps higher than that of Minn, Wisc. and Michigan............with deer desities that I imagine to be similar and with deer ticks in the East at an all time high,,,,,,,,,,,how have moose been able to thrive as far south as ny and Connecticut?

While true that that the Great Lakes supports a spectrum of both Gray(C.lupus) and Eastern Wolves(C lycaon) as well as coyotes and black bears...........are the modest population of wolves a dampening factor and the causal agent of moose decline???

Almost amazing that the more densely populated southern new england and mid atlantic NY can find moose recovering and expanding despite warming conditions(especially evening temps), high densities of whitetails(although sounds like Quabbin and Ware River are at lower levels than a decade ago due to sharpshooter efforts(????) And a now "larger coyote(40-50 pounder) predator synergizing with bears.

Any further thought on the above two stated questions is appreciated.

Many thanks for your time and appreciate you perusing my blogsite.

David........a special hello to u!!


From: Rolf Peterson

Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 1:59 PM

To: Meril, Rick

Subject: Re: Moose foraging in the temp forest of southern new england

Rick - no evidence that coyotes prey on moose calves in Michigan or Minnesota. Whenever moose calves have been radiocollared (and it now numbers in the high hundreds), black bears emerge as the most important predator of moose calves in summer. We did this first on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska in 1977, and it has been repeated in many places. If there is significant predator-caused mortality, bears would be my first bet.


-----Original Message-----

From: Roland Kays

Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 2:13 PM

To: Meril, Rick

Subject: Re: FW: Moose foraging in the temp forest of southern new england


I don't think I've seen moose ever reported in eastern coyote diet, although I'm not sure there have been that many studies in good moose country.??

I think you have to be pretty big/pack hunting to tease a baby away from a moose momma and I wouldn't bet that eastern coyotes are up to that.

I've rss'ed your blog so keep an eye on it.

New York State Museum

No comments: