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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, March 8, 2016

This Winter in New England was the warmest(or 2nd warmest) on record with virtually no meaningful snow cover................Everything in these eastern woodlands has and will be impacted in some way...............Frogs and Amphibians have been up and about since the first week in February, whereas their normal Spring emergence is the end of March..........Any number of freezing temperatures events since then have likely killed off many of these creatures ..............Deer, Turkey and other "seed browsers" will likely have a boom Spring and Summer as food acquisition this Winter has been "easy pickings"...........Of course with that boom, comes more mosquitoes and lyme disease as deer tics explode simultaneously with deer and rodent numbers potentially(not an absolute) on the rise next year due to adults thriving this season..................Fish will be more plentiful as lakes and ponds did not freeze over, allowing more oxygen to be available to the fish---perhaps Black Bears will fatten up on the larger supply of fish...........Coyotes, Foxes, Bobcats, Lynx, Fishers and Martens could find food harder to acquire if small mammals and rodents need not wander far afield for food due to large stores nearby their nests.................Bird migration will likely be thrown off kilter as their insect prey will likely be somewhat out of sync with the birds earlier Spring arrival.................. "Soil freezing without snow cover (will have) adverse effects on spring trees live root biomass"........... "In the short-term, (this soil freezing) could stimulate above ground processes such as stem respiration and radial growth for A. rubrum(red maple) more than Q. rubra(red oak)"....................."The increasing abundance of A. rubrum relative to Q. rubra may have important implications for (carbon) storage in tree stem biomass(with more carbon dioxide released into the atomosphere)"................Over the long term, increasing red maple abundance at the expense of red oak will reduce acorn drop in the fall, with a cascading downward impact on every creature from Blue Jays to Black Bears to Deer, all very dependent on this key Fall "fattening-up" foodstuff

  • Warm winter

  •  expected to 

  • affect animal 

  • populations

  • By Corin Cook Daily News Staff
    Posted Mar. 6, 2016 at 5:00 AM 

    This winter, locals went without jackets,

    drove around with the windows down and

    shoveled much less snow than usual.
    As meteorological winter (Dec. 1 through

    Feb. 29) came to a close on March 1, the

    National Weather Service reported that in

    New England, this winter was the warmest

    on record in Providence, Rhode Island;

    Concord, New Hampshire; and Caribou,

    Maine; and the second warmest in Boston;

    Hartford, Connecticut; and Portland, Maine.
    With the meteorological phenomenon El Nino

    to blame, the warmer-than-usual winter

    months have also interfered with local

    animals’ biological clocks, which experts

    believe may cause changes in animal

    behavior and populations now and in

    the coming months.
    Marion Larson, chief of information and

    education with the Massachusetts Division

    of Fisheries and Wildlife, said the warm

    weather has the ability to yield “local

    population effects,” and changes in behavior.

    whitetail deer in very thin snow covered woods

    Something she is noticing is the “unusual 
    Larson recalls hearing spring peepers during a

    few warm and rainy days the first week of

    “I’ve never heard spring peepers in the first

    week of February,” she said about the frogs,

    which typically start emerging in this area at

    the end of March.
    Immediately after the warm days in early

    February, temperatures dropped below

    freezing, Larson said, and the peepers “may or

    may not have made it to cover for the impending

    She added, “It’s a whole lot easier if you’re a deer

    or a turkey” than a frog.
    Animals that feed on seeds and plants on the

    ground are likely having no problem finding

    food this year with the lack of snowfall, she said.
    Lack of snow also makes it easier for birds of prey

    to spot small mammals which would normally

    burrow around and hide in the snow, she said.
    The weather was also especially favorable for fish

    and other pond dwellers who were not trapped under

    inches of ice.
    When aquatic creatures are trapped under ice for an

    extended period, many suffer from hypoxia, an oxygen

    deficiency, Larson said.

    Coyote with his fawn kill
    Eastern coyote with white-tailed deer

    Because bodies of water were frozen for many months
    This winter, she expects fish are faring much better.
    Wildlife control operator Barry Mandell said the warmer

    weather has affected the rodents and small mammals he

    Beavers, skunks, squirrels, woodchucks, raccoons and

    chipmunks are active earlier this year, he said.
    There aren’t necessarily more of these animals, Mandell

    said, but “next year there is going to be,” because they

    are likely mating more than they would during a year

    with longer cold patterns.

    These creatures could run into trouble if there was

    a limited food supply, Mandell said, but because last

    fall’s acorn crop was abundant, the animals should

    not face any food shortages.
    This food security may be challenging to these animals’

    predators, such as coyotes, because “there’s so much

    food that their prey doesn’t travel,” said Mandell.
    Ben Hix, an associate certified entomologist from


    Pest and Wildlife in Hopedale, said for many creatures,

    when weather patterns are unusual “the internal clock

    that they have sort of misfires.”
    For instance, “migratory birds can start to come

    home and lay eggs earlier,” he said.
    Hix said he expects to see a “burst in the insect

    population” because they may come out of hibernation

    or diapause, a physiological state of dormancy,


    Fisher attacking Porcupine on thin snow covered terrain

    This past week, Hix said he started to notice insects

    flying around, which is weeks earlier than usual.
    Earlier activity means extended mating seasons, which

    should result in increased populations for many insects.
    There is “a lot of concern” centered around mosquitoes,

    Hix said, because larger populations could mean an

    increased risk of West Nile virus and eastern equine

    encephalitis (EEE.)
    Sam Telford, professor at Tufts Cummings School of

    Veterinary Medicine, said however, that it is “hard to

    generalize” what happens to certain populations and

    the diseases they carry.
    While mosquitoes that overwinter as adults in

    basements or other abandoned areas may emerge

    earlier, Telford, who specializes in mosquitoes and

    ticks, said it may not mean an increase in

    populations or mosquito-borne diseases.
    In fact, he said, it is “completely unknown” if

    temperature affects rates of West Nile or EEE,

    because the occurrences are more often related to

    air conditions in late summer.
    However, Telford said he would expect the lack of

    snow this winter could hurt snow-melt mosquitoes,

    which are “huge nuisance mosquitoes in late May”

    but do not carry diseases.
    Snow-melt mosquitoes rely on “melting snow to create

    pools” to lay their eggs. With little snowfall this year,

    Telford said, he would expect lower birth rates for the

    The weather “could influence the number of ticks,”

    he said, “but it might not be immediately seen.”
    “Adult ticks are usually inactive under the snow,” he

    said, but in warmer winter temperatures they may

    be active and laying eggs.
    This should result in a lot more baby ticks in August

    or September, he said.

    Bobcat with hare

    On the other hand, Telford said, without snow
    winter, we could see ticks actually suffer.”
    Records show warmer winters in New England



    followed by an increase in Lyme disease.
    During three recent warm winters, 2001-02,

    2006-07 and 2011-12, Telford said, the

    Department of Public Health has reported

    roughly a 50-percent increase in the

    number of Lyme disease cases in

    Even small mammals, which are reaping

    the most benefits from the warm weather,

    cannot necessarily be expected to be

    reproducing more, he said.
    Telford said in working with mice, he was

    expecting they would be reproducing more

    this winter, but for some reason, they are

    “We think we know how things should

    work,” he said, “but nature always throws

    us for a loop.”
  •  cover, “ticks are 

  • exposed to the elements, so with the 
  • occasional deep 
  • freezes this 
  •  last year, there was “a record level of
  •  fish kills,” in Massachusetts, said Larson.
  • movement of amphibians.”

Study: Snowfall Linked to Tree Growth and Function

Monday, February 8, 2016
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Snowfall affects forest tree growth and function well beyond the winter season, says a new study of a dozen Harvard Forest red oak and red maple trees, recently published in the journalEcosystems.
The study authors, Andrew Reinmann and Pamela Templer, both from Boston University, found impacts above- and below-ground when they removed snow from the ground in the study area, allowing the top layer of the soil to freeze.
As a result of the freeze, there were fewer living tree roots the following spring. Surprisingly, red maples affected by the freeze grew more in diameter, but also released far more carbon dioxide from their trunks and branches.
(Photo by Melody Komyerov courtesy of Boston University)
Reduced Winter Snowpack and
Greater Soil Frost Reduce Live Root
Biomass and Stimulate Radial
Growth and Stem Respiration of Red
Maple (Acer rubrum) Trees in a
Mixed-Hardwood Forest

Northeastern U.S. forests are currently net carbon (C)
sinks, but rates of C loss from these ecosystems may be
altered by the projected reduction in snowpack and
increased soil freezing over the next century. Soil
freezing damages fine roots, which may reduce radial
tree growth and stem respiration.

snowless New England winter woodlands

We conducted a
snow removal experiment at Harvard Forest, MA to
quantify effects of a reduced winter snowpack and
increased soil freezing on root biomass, stem radial
growth and respiration in a mixed-hardwood forest.
The proportion of live fine root biomass during spring
(late-April) declined with increasing soil frost severity
(P = 0.05). Basal area increment index was positively
correlated with soil frost severity forAcer rubrum, but
not Quercus rubra. Rates of stem respiration in the
growing season correlated positively with soil frost
duration in the previous winter, (R2
LMMðmÞ = 0.15 and 0.24 for Q. rubra and A. rubrum,

Losses of C from stem respiration were comparable to or
greater than C storage from radial growth ofQ. rubra
and A. rubrum, respectively. Overall, our findings
suggest that in mixed-hardwood forests (1) soil freezing
 has adverse effects on spring live root biomass,
 but at least in the short-term could stimulate
above ground processes such as stem respiration and

radial growth for A. rubrum more than Q. rubra, (2)

stem respiration is an important ecosystem C flux and
(3) the increasing abundance of A. rubrum relative to

Q. rubra may have important implications for C
storage in tree stem biomass.

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