Resilient Habitats: Ecosystems
moose (Alces alces)
The Quetico-Superior international ecosystem encompasses 2.5 million protected acres, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park just over the border. The region’s network of waterways, boreal forests, and diverse animal species face threats from climate change along with stressors including proposed toxic sulfide mining, loss of habitat, and disruption of the 90,000 acres of remaining roadless areas within Superior National Forest. The Resilient Habitats campaign is working to bring attention to the region’s wildlife, wilderness, and people affected by the threats to this special north woods place.
The Quetico-Superior ecosystem serves as a vital wildlife corridor for species to move between Canada and the United States. This freedom of movement and connectivity will only become more important as species struggle to adapt to the warming climate, and no animal right now is having more difficulty adapting than the iconic moose.
Biologists estimate the moose population has declined by nearly fifty percent in Minnesota over the last twenty years, with a near-collapse in the northwestern part of the state. While factors like disease and predation contribute to moose mortality, scientists have concluded that heat stress from global warming is the biggest reason for the animal’s decline.
The moose faces the same challenges in the broader Quetico- Superior ecosystem. Because of the moose’s rapid decline in population an advisory committee, appointed by the Minne-sota Legislature to respond to the decline, has acknowledged the possibility that moose may disappear from Minnesota altogether by 2050 if present trends continue.
SAFEGUARDING OUR LEGACY
Sierra Club is working to secure additional protections and prevent stressors such as toxic mining and habitat destruc¬tion to help the Quetico-Superior ecosystem adapt to the effects of climate change. Among our ten-year objectives for Quetico-Superior are:
- Prevent proposed sulfide mining across Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region that would threaten Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness,
- Support development of a scientifically-based blueprint for climate-smart conservation and management practices in the Quetico-Superior,
- Create public demand for protection of moose and Canada lynx habitat, and
- Limit damage to Minnesota’s forests and wetlands from emerging threats.