The culmination of three decades of work by Michigan Natural Features Inventory ecologists, this essential guidebook to the natural communities of Michigan introduces the diverse terrain of a unique state. Small enough to carry in a backpack, this field guide provides a system for dividing the complex natural landscape of Michigan into easily understood and describable components called natural communities. Providing a new way to explore Michigan’s many environments, this book details natural communities ranging from patterned fen to volcanic bedrock glade and beyond. The descriptions are supplemented with distribution maps, vibrant photographs, and comprehensive lists of characteristic plant species. The authors suggest places to visit to further study each type of natural community and provide a comprehensive glossary of ecological terms, as well as a dichotomous key for aiding field identification. An invaluable resource, this book is meant to serve as a tool for those seeking to understand, describe, document, conserve, and restore the diversity of natural communities native to Michigan.
Joshua G. Cohen is the Lead Ecologist with Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Michigan’s natural heritage program. Michael A. Kost was the Lead Ecologist for Michigan Natural Features Inventory from 2004 to 2012 and is the Native Plants Specialist with the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum of the University of Michigan. Bradford S. Slaughter is Michigan Natural Features Inventory’s Lead Botanist. Dennis A. Albert was the Lead Ecologist for Michigan Natural Features nventory from 1987 through 2004, and he is research faculty in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University.
Michigan Natural Features Inventory’s natural community classification has been the basis for ecosystem-level conservation in Michigan for well over a decade. Our state has an incredibly diverse landscape of forests, prairies, wetlands, sand dunes, bedrock, and Great Lakes shoreline. This field guide is an essential reference for anyone wanting to understand the natural communities of Michigan. —Glenn Palmgren, Ecologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources