Land use change on Michigan's Lake Superior shoreline: Integrating land tenure and land cover type data

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In many rural areas of the United States, in-migration is driven by the desire for the natural amenities of the region. For the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lake Superior is a key aesthetic and environmental asset. Land use change has been dramatic in some shoreline areas of Lake Superior. The nearshore also contains critical habitat and ecosystems which are different from inland ecosystems. This paper examines the changes in property ownership, both public and private, as they relate to lakeshore land cover types in nine counties of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Geographic Information Systems combined with detailed property analysis indicate that wetlands have had less than expected development while several other locally rare habitats have had more development. Patterns of county by county development have not been uniform across the Upper Peninsula. Public lands can protect some habitat types. Examination of ecosystem properties and land ownership patterns is greatly facilitated by the land imagery process used in this paper.

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Journal of Great Lakes Research