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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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Thursday, August 23, 2018

"In September of 2011, a large forest fire that was started by lightening burned about 10% of the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness"................ "It was named the Pagami Creek Fire and it was the third largest fire in Minnesota history".................As the top picture in the article below depicts, lots of small trees and shrubs have sprung up, starting the natural restoration process........ "Innumerable number of jack pine cones that had been laying dormant popped open their seeds via the heat as the fire burned through" ................ While disturbing to watch a beautiful forest go up in flames, we all should know that forest fires play an important role in the long term health of woodlands".............. "The Boundary Waters is on the southern edge of the boreal forest that extends up into Canada"............."Fire started by lightning is a regular part of the life cycle of the boreal which typically burns every 75 to 100 years"............"These fires return nutrients to the soil, allowing all types of shrubs and trees to restart the plant cycle"................ In the Pagami region, Moose are taking advantage of the sunlight-loving browse such as aspen, birch, mountain maple, dogwood, hazel, willow and blueberries".............." The Black-Backed Woodpecker population has explodeded as they utilize the cavities of the fire-killed trees to raise their young".............."On the flipside, the fire degraded American Marten habitat(mature forest trees) and their population will stay small for many years until the trees come back"............Ebb and flow of life are all a part of natures plan for these woodlands.............We should not let our own biases interfere with natures design, allowing for the natural cycle to run its course----that in the long run brings a rough equilibrium for all the creatures that make the forest home

Moose, berries thrive seven years after northern Minnesota wildfire

Peter Passi; August 17, 2018

ELY, Minn. — Seven years ago today, a lightning strike about 13 miles east of Ely touched off the Pagami Creek Fire, a blaze that would burn for weeks, leaving 145 square miles of forest charred and denuded. It remains the largest fire northern Minnesota has seen in 80-plus years.
Square Lake seven years after the Pagami Creek Fire burned through the area. Peter Passi / Forum News Service

Last week, our family tripped through a portion of the burn area, and even though berry season appeared to be winding down elsewhere in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, plentiful blueberries still were popping amidst the remnants of the fire. We greedily gobbled our way through portages to and from Square Lake and Kawashaschong Lake as we circled through the area, enroute to Malberg, Adams, Boulder and Makwa via the Kawishiwi River.

The stark landscape of the burn remains studded with the skeletal remains of trees, but saplings, wildflowers, berries and bees have swept in to fill the void.
Certain forms of wildlife also are thriving within this regenerative scene.

Moose have moved back into the Pagami region

Mike Schrage, a biologist for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, credits the fire for boosting moose numbers in the area.
He explained that the mature, dense, largely coniferous forest preceding the fire provided less attractive habitat than the area does today.
"Moose density was pretty low," Schrage said.

Moose browsing the Pagami burn area

"Once the fire happened, it removed the overstory and allowed for a lot of brush and deciduous species to come in — aspen, birch, mountain maple, dogwood and hazel and willow and such that moose like to eat. It allowed for that to sprout and grow really well. And blueberries are another thing that takes off with a lot of sunlight," he said.
"Moose responded to that, and we're seeing a lot more moose in some of those areas than we did before the fire," Schrage said.
He noted that other creatures also have benefited. "I think the number of black-backed woodpeckers also has exploded in that area. They do really well with fire-killed trees."
But there are losers as well as winners.
"On the flipside, it's probably not good marten habitat and won't be for many years until the trees come back," Schlage said.
The change that fire brings to the forest landscape is part of a natural ebb and flow, according to Schlage.

"The boreal forest of northeast Minnesota burned on a regular basis historically, and so it's just doing what it has always done," he said.
However, our desire to protect mature forest lands and suppress fire actually disrupts that natural cycle.
"Our intervention in natural fire regimes has changed the way the forest should look in many cases," Schlage said.
Though visually jarring, many of the burnt-out areas now possess a strange, emerging beauty.
"We bring our own biases when we look at fires. We say: 'Oh it looks ugly, and there are no longer the nice big white pine trees to take a nap under when I pull my canoe ashore.' But from a moose standpoint, they think fire is great," Schlage said.

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