rom the large forest tracts of the Upper Peninsula to expansive
of Lake St. Clair, Michigan is a wonderful and diverse place. As a Michigan landowner, your property fits
into the big picture, as it is a single piece of the large jigsaw puzzle of the state. Each land parcel, regardless of size,
fits with other pieces to form a neighborhood. The neighborhoods then come together and form an
Ecosystems collect to form a regional
, and these together, in turn, link the State of Michigan with
surrounding states and provinces. It is important to understand this concept because what happens on your property--
your individual piece of the puzzle--has an impact on your neighborhood, the local landscape, the regional
ecosystem, and ultimately the areas surrounding the state. Therefore, the collective set of management practices on a
landscape ultimately determines which
of species will prosper.
"Ecosystem" refers to the relationship between a community of plants and animals and its living and non-living
environment. This relationship includes the rain, sun, wind and elements of the atmosphere; the plants and animals,
including people, on the land and in the waters; and the soil, geology and water that occurs on or in the land.
Interacting together, these diverse environmental factors form an ecosystem. Each ecosystem can be defined both as
an individual, self-contained complex, and as part of larger ecological systems.
Ecosystems can be as small as several square feet around a fallen log in a forest, or as large as the Great Lakes
region. Size of the ecosystem is not nearly as important as the interactions within the ecosystem. The bacteria, fungi,
and insects on the log help to decompose the log into a soil-enriching humus, which some day will support a new