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A groundhog seen in Minneapolis, along the banks of the Mississippi River.
Bison on the prairie.

The natural history of Minnesota covers many plant and animal species. The mid continental location of Minnesota influences its plant and animal life. Four of North America's biomes converge in Minnesota: prairie grasslands in the southwestern and western parts of the state, the eastern temperate deciduous forests in the east-central and the southeast, the boreal forest in the north-central and Arrowhead, and the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland in the northwest.[1]

Flora

Four of North America's biomes converge in Minnesota: prairie grasslands in the southwestern and western parts of the state, the eastern temperate deciduous forests in the east-central and the southeast, the boreal forest in the north-central and Arrowhead, and the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland in the northwest.[1] The northern coniferous forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar. Much of Minnesota's northern forest has been logged, leaving only a few patches of old growth forest today in areas such as in the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) of unlogged land.[2] Although logging continues, regrowth keeps about one third of the state forested.[3]

Fauna

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, and bison,[4] whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. The state has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska,[5] and supports healthy populations of black bear and moose. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and game birds such as grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey including the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, and snowy owl. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and streams in the southeast are populated by brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

References

  1. ^ a b "Biomes of Minnesota". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/biomes/index.html. Retrieved 2009-08-16.  
  2. ^ Heinselman, Miron (1996). The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-2805-X.  
  3. ^ Bewer, Tim (2004). Moon Handbooks Minnesota (First edition ed.). Avalon Travel Publishing. ISBN 1-56691-482-5.  
  4. ^ Bison disappeared in the mid 1800s; the last bison was reported in southwest Minnesota in 1879. Moyle, J. B. (1965). Big Game in Minnesota, Technical Bulletin, no. 9. Minnesota Department of Conservation, Division of Game and Fish, Section of Research and Planning. pp. p. 172.   As referenced in Anfinson, Scott F. (1997). Southwestern Minnesota Archaelogy. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. pp. p. 20. ISBN 0-87351-355-X.  
  5. ^ "Comprehensive Report Species - Canis lupus". http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?searchName=Canis+lupus. Retrieved 2007-05-07.  
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