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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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Monday, July 7, 2014

Harvard researcher and head of THE HARVARD FOREST in Massachusetts, David Foster(and 8 of his brilliant colleagues) has written an insightful, poignant and easy-to-understand new book on the slow death (from the "sap sucking" Asian exotic insect, the Wooly Adelgid) of one of the "foundation trees" of our eastern forests--the Eastern Hemlock tree .........David is a friend of this Blog and I thanked him last night for a book that is written so beautifully about such a sad state of affairs( I am 75 pages into his quick read 267 page revelation)........In our eastern woodlands, the eastern hemlock’s unique value to human culture, ecosystems, and scientific research is wonderfully revealed to the reader.........As David and his team state----- “what’s the role, what’s the importance, of an individual species?”......... “Since the hemlock is such an unusual species, we expect, and the results certainly seem to show, that it plays a unique role, so its loss has a major impact on the way the whole ecosystem operates"........ "Scientists can learn a great deal from foundation species like hemlocks that influence all the surrounding species in their ecosystem, shaping and controlling conditions from the bottom up"............ "In this case, the hemlock has an extraordinary capacity to absorb sunlight: in a thick hemlock forest, only about 1 percent of sunlight reaches the ground"........... "The deep shade the hemlock creates “is tolerated by few other plant species and creates cool, damp conditions".......... “Thus hemlock creates an environment that is advantageous to some [species]—salamanders, brook trout in cool streams, a handful of other plants, including young hemlocks and deer yards that are much less snow infested in winter, allowing deer to have a better chance of emerging healthy as Spring re-emerges"

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