Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Could the Northlands Look Like the Prairie? - MN2020 Hindsight

Could the Northlands Look Like the Prairie? - MN2020 Hindsight: "If we continue emitting carbon at our current rates, the Boundary Waters will turn into an open prairie by the end of the 21st century, killing off and pushing away moose, lynx and some songbirds, according to a recent National Wildlife Federation report."


Frank Walters said...

What nonsense. For our graduate course in Quaternary geology we were required to map the habitats of large mammals at various stages of recession of lobes of the North American continental glacier.

What was clear was that the ranges of large mammals had contracted during the glacial advance and expanded during recession. Warming of two degrees Celsius (4 deg F) will likely cause the ranges of large mammals to expand northwards as it did during the Hypsithermal about 5,000 years ago.

Too bad more climate scientists know so little about paleoclimatology.

Frank Walters said...


The extent of true prairies is known to have been determined in part by the actions of native peoples who used fire as a tool to manage game including the buffalo.

The extent of the steppe land is another matter. Prairies and steppes are often confused.

Doug Proctor said...

The Canadian prairies stopped being treeless immediately upon farming - because, as Frank noted, fires stopped as the land was broken up and crops put in.

In SE Saskatchewan my father-in-law remembered the one tree that existed between the family farm and town at a time that wildfires were still happening. The area is rotten with brush now but now farmers can't bulldoze them because .... these areas are refuges for the deer that didn't use to be there!

The past is only desirable when the eco-green say it is.