Minnesota’s Natural Heritage

Second Edition

2020
Authors:

John R. Tester, Susan M. Galatowitsch, Rebecca A. Montgomery, and John J. Moriarty

Minnesota’s Natural Heritage

The definitive work on Minnesota’s natural history and ecology—updated, expanded, and copiously illustrated to account for profound changes to the state’s natural landscape over the past twenty-five years


The second edition of Minnesota’s Natural Heritage introduces readers to the major ecosystems—the lakes and rivers, forests and prairies, farmlands and wetlands—that give our state its rich and varied character and have been profoundly altered in the twenty-five years since the book’s first edition.

The story of Minnesota’s natural landscape, reaching back to the time of the glaciers, covers at least 12,000 years. Yet even against that vast expanse, recent decades have significantly transformed the natural world that is Minnesota’s greatest resource. In the twenty-five years since the first publication of Minnesota’s Natural Heritage, the definitive volume on the state’s natural history and ecology, human activity and climate change have profoundly altered the major ecosystems that give our state its rich and varied character.

The second edition of Minnesota’s Natural Heritage introduces readers to these ecosystems—the lakes and rivers, forests and prairies, farmlands and wetlands—and explains how they have come to be, how they function, and how they have changed so rapidly and dramatically in recent years. Full-color illustrations document the state’s striking natural beauty in all its vigor and fragility, while maps, drawings, diagrams, and graphs amplify points of historical, ecological, and geological interest.

The most complete treatment of Minnesota’s natural environment, compiled and accessibly written by scientists whose collective knowledge spans the book’s expansive content, Minnesota’s Natural Heritage is the one indispensable companion for both visitors and inhabitants, as enlightening to page through as it is valuable to study.

Minnesota’s Natural Heritage

John R. Tester (1929–2019) was emeritus professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He was a lifelong scientist and naturalist who witnessed many changes to Minnesota’s ecosystems. He published numerous articles and research papers on wildlife and ecosystem ecology.

Susan M. Galatowitsch is professor and head of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Ecological Restoration and Restoring Prairie Wetlands: An Ecological Approach. She and her research team focus on wetland and grassland restoration and invasive species management.

Rebecca A. Montgomery is a professor in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota. She started her career as a tropical biologist before returning to Minnesota. Her research focuses on forest ecology and tree biology.

John J. Moriarty is senior manager of wildlife for Three Rivers Park District. He was a natural resources manager for Ramsey County Parks and Hennepin Parks, as well as a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University. He has written five books on Minnesota natural history, including Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota (Minnesota, 2014) and A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities (Minnesota, 2018).

Minnesota’s Natural Heritage

Contents


Preface to the Second Edition


Preface to the First Edition


Acknowledgments


1. The Landscape


Geologic History


Changing Landscapes Since Glaciation


The Present Landscape


2. Climate and Weather


Solar Radiation


Temperature


Precipitation


Clouds


Wind


Observed Climate Change


3. Principles of Ecology


Environment


Ecosystem Structure and Function


Populations and Communities


4. Deciduous Forest


Deciduous Forest Ecology


Animals and Community Interactions


Forest Management and Conservation in Minnesota


5. Northern Coniferous Forest


Northern Coniferous Forest Ecology


Animals and Community Interactions


Present Status of the Northern Coniferous Forest


6. Tallgrass Prairie


Prairie Forest Border


Tallgrass Prairie Ecology


Animals and Community Interactions


Present Status of the Tallgrass Prairie


7. Wetlands


Prairie Wetlands


Animals and Community Interactions in Prairie Wetlands


Peatlands


Animals and Community Interactions in Peatlands


Other Wetlands Occurring in Minnesota


Present Status of Wetlands


8. Lakes


Formation and Distribution


Physical and Chemical Characteristics


Lake Communities


Ecosystem Function


Animals and Community Interactions


Minnesota’s Lakes


Present Status of Minnesota’s Lakes


9. Streams and Rivers


Origins of Streams and Rivers


Physical and Chemical Characteristics


Stream Communities


Ecosystem Function


River Continuum Concept


Animals and Community Interactions


Minnesota’s Streams and Rivers


Present Status of Minnesota’s Streams and Rivers


10. The Future


Stemming Habitat Loss


Feeding a Growing Human Population Sustainably


Adapting to a Changing Climate


Reversing the Spread of Invasive Species


Reducing Damaging Chemicals in the Environment


Recovering Threatened Species Populations


Planning Statewide Conservation Action


Restoring Ecosystems


A Perspective to Live With


Appendixes


A. Counties and Major Rivers in Minnesota


B. Trees and Shrubs Found in Minnesota


C. Common Herbs Found in Minnesota


D. Mammals Found in Minnesota


E. Birds Breeding in Minnesota


F. Amphibians and Reptiles Found in Minnesota


G. Fishes Found in Minnesota


H. Metric Equivalents of English Weights and Measures


Literature Cited


Permissions


Index