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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

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So how confusing the Moose health situation has become in the Northeast where Vermont and New Hamphire herds seem to be being adversely impacted by the synergy of global warming, deer brain disease, winter tiks and various parasites while Connectitcut rewilding of Moose seems to be taking hold.....................Why are the Moose ok in southerly Connecticut and suffering in more northerly Vermont and New Hampshire.....................Confusing this all is!

Moose in southern New England?

."There's no question about it. Moose are now living in Connecticut and are here to stay," according to to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's website. But what does that mean for the state's forests, which some people feel are already beset by a large number of deer? Highstead ecologist Ed Faison and colleagues are studying how both species — separately and collectively — are changing the region's forests. And they are finding that moose and deer do not eliminate tree species but rather slow the rate of tree growth."The reality," according to Mr. Faison, "is that moose are not going to prevent the forests from regenerating. They are just going to change some dynamics

."The impact comes from basic moose biology: Each animal consumes up to 50 pounds of twigs, buds, and leaves from trees and shrubs daily. Due to dense concentrations of nutritious young plants, logged and other recently disturbed areas are most attractive to moose. Hence browsing is apt to be greater and cause larger changes in forests managed for timber than in nearby unlogged forests.Mr. Faison explained that moose are cold-adapted animals that live primarily in northern coniferous forests but range into mixed deciduous forests of southern New England. Following European settlement, moose vanished from southern New England — the result of deforestation and unrestricted hunting. But as forests began to regrow, moose gradually migrated back into their original territories, finally reappearing in southern New England during the 1990s.

 Now, for the first time in almost two centuries, the region has two large native herbivores — moose and white-tailed deer.In Connecticut, moose are limited to the state's northern corners where temperatures and forest fragmentation are lowest. Because of southwestern Connecticut's relatively high temperatures, limited conifer forest cover, and extensive forest fragmentation, moose are unlikely to expand their range south into Redding and surrounding towns.Mr. Faison's colleagues include Stephen DeStefano, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass. Mr. Foster is also the board chair of Highstead, a natural area and nonprofit organization in Redding dedicated to ecological research and conservation, including a leadership role in the Wildlands and Woodlands Initiative.

 This regional collaborative works to double the pace of conservation of New England's forested and natural landscapes in order to permanently protect their irreplaceable ecological, economic, and cultural values.The researchers believe their study in northern Connecticut and central Massachusetts is the first on the effects of combined deer and moose browsing in North America.Begun in 2007, the scientists have employed a novel approach to study logged, disturbed forests with nearby undisturbed forests. In each, they examine the vegetation in three areas: fenced to exclude moose and deer, partially fenced to exclude only moose, and unfenced to allow both species access

.This past May, Mr. Faison summarized the results of the study at the North American Moose Conference in New Hampshire. The combination of moose and deer browsing has reduced the height of the regrowing forest far more than deer browsing alone. Moose and deer have also altered the forest composition due to their preference for different plant species. For instance, heavy browsing has reduced the number of birches, pin cherry, and white ash. However, the commercially valuable white pine and black cherry, which the animals largely avoid, have increased in abundance."Moose are a native species and absolutely belong here," said Mr. Faison. "We will continue this research to help increase our knowledge about moose and forest management, although warming temperatures, sadly, may chase moose back to northern New England in the coming decades."

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