Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Friday, July 6, 2012

Swelteringly hot in the forest... implications for a future Saginaw Forest?

Although the rains of the hard rains of the past two days have helped (a very little bit) with the longer-term lack of rain, the constant heat isn't helping with temperatures in the forest.

Today, when walking outside, I felt the steaming heat of the outside. Humidity seemed to be at or near 100% and the temperatures were pushing 90F at 11am; what happened to the low 70s from just three hours earlier?

Many scientists are saying that this summer is a glimpse of a world under conditions of global warming. If this is what a 2C rise in global temperature means in Ann Arbor, we'll have much to look forward to in Saginaw Forest, including:

* more deer flies and horse flies
* more vine growth (including poison ivy)
* fewer raspberries due to a comparative lack of water
* a smaller Third Sister Lake (which is already at its lowest level that I remember), which means little use of the dock that was put there and - due to the steep grade of the lake - less and less suitable nesting habitat for the fishes that are already in there
* a lowered water table due to a combination of increased evapotranspiration, diminished recharge, and diminished retention capacity
* more tree death, since the existing trees may suffer from heat stress and a lack of water due to a lowered water table
* a different tree mix - including many more Ohio and Indiana species - that is more suited to hotter summers

In other words, a future Saginaw Forest is likely to be far more sparse in tree cover, will have - in upland areas - younger trees that are better adapted to warmer and drier conditions, and will have a smaller lake with far fewer fish. The lawn in front of the cabin may well be dry throughout the summer months, and the raspberry canes will be producing smaller and more sour berries.

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