by Eric B.
Logging has always created environmental problems where ever it is done, whether it be due to negligence by the logging company or just lack of knowledge of the effects it will have on the environment. One of the first observable environmental issues caused by logging in Michigan is rapid deforestation. This occurred due to the high rate that logging companies were harvesting trees and the fact that after they harvested the trees the company did not replant new trees in the area. This rapid deforestation resulted in the destruction and loss of many animals’ homes and ecosystems forcing them to find new homes near newly populated cities.
In addition to creating rapid deforestation logging in Michigan also led to the rapid erosion of top soil. While this might not seem like a major problem erosion often led to the drying out of the land which created a major fire hazard. This fire hazard proved to be especially problematic when in the mid 1800’s Michigan had several extremely dry summers which caused frequent breakouts of wild fires in the northern part of the state and the Upper Peninsula. These wildfires devastated the land in the UP by destroying countless ecosystems and making the area virtually uninhabitable.
Once people saw the devastation that these forest fires had on Michigan there became a large movement to protect and conserve Michigan’s natural resources. This movement called for logging companies to restore trees in by replanting in heavily deforested areas. In addition to replanting trees loggers began removing the entire tree when logging instead of leaving the stump and branches behind. These simple but effective methods were able to greatly reduce both the number of forest fires in the UP as well as the amount of soil erosion in the area.
In order to research my topic more I will be visiting Oscoda, Michigan, which is home to the National Lumberman’s Memorial. During the 1800’s Oscoda was a large area for logging in northern Michigan due to the Au Sable River which was used for easy transport of lumber throughout Michigan. In addition to traveling to Oscoda I will also be researching at the Clarke Historical Library for facts and primary sources on both logging in Michigan and environmental impacts of logging.
- Birmingham, C.H. "The Lumber Region of Michigan [pp. 77-104]." The North American Review Volume 0107 Issue 220 , July 1868: pp. 77-104.
- Quinlan, Maria. "Lumbering in Michigan." Great Lakes Informant, n.d.: Series 3, Number 2.