Animal Life

The black bear is frequently seen in northern

The black bear is frequently seen in northern Michigan, especially in the Keweenaw Peninsula. In Lake Superior, Isle Royale has one of the few remaining herds of great antlered moose and a small gray wolf population. There are also controlled herds of elk in the upper part of the Lower Peninsula. Deer are abundant in many parts of the state. Among other mammals are porcupines, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, weasels, opossums, and bobcats. Most of the species that provided the base for the fur trade still exist in the state. These include the beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, raccoon, red fox, and badger.

Michigan`s wide variety of fish and birds

Michigan`s wide variety of fish and birds yearly attracts thousands of hunters and fishing enthusiasts to the state. The principal birds are the partridge, quail, grouse, pheasant, wild turkey, and wild geese and ducks. Fish include bass, perch, crappie, pike, trout, salmon, and smelts.


In the 20th century

In the 20th century, large areas of Michigan`s cutover land have been set aside as state forests, which are used for recreational purposes and for the protection of Michigan`s wildlife. The development and the management of forested areas, as well as of fish and game resources, are the concerns of the state`s Department of Natural Resources. The state`s Department of Environmental Quality, established in 1995, handles environmental policy and enforcement issues. Forest fires have been greatly reduced by rapid detection of fires and by campaigns to educate the public in the hazards of fire and in the ways of controlling it. The Land Economic Survey was begun in 1929 to inventory the state`s natural resources in northern Lower Michigan counties with a view to their integrated management. Michigan conservationists claim that this survey was the first of its kind and scope in the country. To prevent soil erosion and to preserve the fertility of its soil, the state has 83 soil conservation districts that cover all of its farmland. A demonstration project in watershed protection was undertaken on the Rifle River to improve the stream for fish habitation.

Obtaining an adequate supply of water is

Obtaining an adequate supply of water is becoming a problem as cities and industries grow. Some Midwestern cities, including Grand Rapids, are already drawing water from the Great Lakes. However, there is danger of severe pollution of the Great Lakes and smaller lakes and streams. Another concern regarding the state`s waters is the introduction of harmful, nonnative plant and animal species. Species such as the sea lamprey, zebra mussel, and purple loosestrife were inadvertently spilled into the Great Lakes when cargo ships unloaded ballast water before taking on more cargo. These species and others are known to quickly replace native species, alter the ecosystem, and cost millions of dollars in damage to structures and industries.

Michigan has a special office in the Department

Michigan has a special office in the Department of Natural Resources charged with monitoring and carrying out research on endangered species in the state. The gray wolf increased from only a few to more than 80 in the mid-1990s, while the Kirtland`s warbler, which was found primarily in north central Michigan, increased from 167 nesting pairs in 1974 to nearly 700 in the mid-1990s. Although the annual deer-hunting season attracts many hunters, the number of deer that may be taken has been carefully determined to preserve the deer population.

In 2008 the state had 65 hazardous waste

In 2008 the state had 65 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Progress was being made in efforts to reduce pollution; during the period 19952000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 42 percent.

Economic Activities

During the colonial period

During the colonial period, when the area now known as Michigan had few European settlers, fur trapping and trading were the principal economic activities. As the region became more populated in the first half of the 19th century, settlers were occupied by farming and lumbering. Subsequently large-scale mining operations were started. The metals mined in the state allowed Michigan to develop a manufacturing economy by the early 20th century, and the state became a center for producing motor vehicles and associated equipment.

Michigan had a labor force of 4

Michigan had a labor force of 4,519,000 people in 2008. The largest share of those, 35 percent, were employed in the diverse services sector, doing such jobs as working in advertising offices or medical clinics. Some 19 percent were employed in wholesale or retail trade; 14 percent in manufacturing; 15 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 18 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 4 percent in construction; 19 percent in transportation or public utilities; 2 percent in farming, forestry, or fishing; and just 0.2 percent in mining. Although services provide the largest share of employment, the manufacturing sector produces the largest portion of the state`s income and trade. Manufacturing and construction dominate in the southern one-third of the state, while in the northern two-thirds the leading sources of income are government, services, retail trade, and small-scale manufacturing.

In 2007 some 20 percent of Michigan`s

In 2007 some 20 percent of Michigan`s workers were unionized, compared to a national figure of 14 percent. The labor market is undergoing rapid change due to the continued automation of industrial plants, the spread of automobile production to other regions of the United States, the production of many automobiles and machine parts in other countries, and the rising importance of service-sector employment throughout the state.

The fortunes of Michigan`s key industry

The fortunes of Michigan`s key industry, the motor vehicle industry, are closely tied to general business conditions. Thus, during times of recession the state experiences high unemployment. In the 1970s the U.S. automobile industry, and with it Michigan, went through a major crisis. Beset by rising fuel prices, consumers turned away from the traditional, big American car and bought increasing numbers of fuel-efficient imported models.

At the end of the 1970s U.S. manufacturers

At the end of the 1970s U.S. manufacturers began trying to counter the trend away from American-made automobiles by introducing their own small cars. The efforts made by automobile manufacturers to improve quality and selection was showing results in the 1990s. Production and profits at the major United States automobile plants began to increase in the late 1980s and continued to grow in the 1990s, the result, in part, of a resurgence in popularity of larger vehicles and light trucks..

Michigan`s automakers and other large

Michigan`s automakers and other large corporations have also used their research and production skills to manufacture missiles, computers, and communications equipment. Computer-related advances in automobile design and manufacturing have resulted in an emphasis on high technology in much of the industry in southeast Michigan. This development, along with the increasing diversification of manufacturing in general and a greater emphasis on service industries, has reduced Michigan`s economic dependence on the automobile industry. The state now derives just one-fifth of its manufacturing value directly from firms manufacturing motor vehicles.


The principal crops grown in Michigan in

The principal crops grown in Michigan in the late 1990s were corn, soybeans, vegetables, sugarbeets, wheat, and fruit. Sales of greenhouse and nursery products are the other leading source of crop income, producing cash sales roughly equal to those of corn. The state leads the nation in the production of cucumbers, and is behind only North Dakota in the amount of dry beans grown. Other important vegetable crops are celery, asparagus, snap beans, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. In fruits Michigan is especially outstanding. The state is first in the nation in the production of sour cherries; it is also a leading producer of sweet cherries, apples, grapes, peaches, plums, and strawberries.

In 2008 there were 55

In 2008 there were 55,000 farms in Michigan. Some 41 percent of the farms produced more than $10,000 in annual sales. Farmland occupied 4 million hectares (10 million acres). Cropland occupied 22 percent of the state`s total land area, and pasture another 5 percent. Three-fifths of agricultural income comes from crop sales and the rest from sales of livestock and livestock products. Dairy farming was the most economically important livestock sector in 1997.

The bulk of the agricultural activity is

The bulk of the agricultural activity is centered in the Lower Peninsula. Orchards and vegetable farms are concentrated in a belt about 50 km (about 30 mi) wide running along Lake Michigan from the Indiana border northward to Grand Traverse Bay and Charlevoix.

Michigan`s thumb and the Saginaw Lowlands

Michigan`s thumb and the Saginaw Lowlands, in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula, are noted for the production of soybeans, sugar beets, navy beans, and wheat. Another specialized kind of farming is seen around Holland, where, appropriately, tulip bulbs are raised. The farms of southern Michigan, adjacent to the Corn Belt, raise corn, wheat, and oats for cash. Dairying is important, as are beef cattle, hogs, and chickens.

In the Superior Upland many of the farms

In the Superior Upland many of the farms are classed as residential or part-time farms, in which farm income is supplemented by outside income, mainly from mining, lumbering, and tourism. The leading form of agriculture in the Upper Peninsula, especially its eastern portion, is dairy farming. In the western segment, hay, oats, and potatoes are raised and much of farm income stems from dairying. This pattern is repeated in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.


Employing only a few hundred workers

Employing only a few hundred workers, commercial fishing is still recovering from the invasion of the sea lamprey, an eellike fish that nearly wiped out the multimillion-dollar Great Lakes fishing industry. First appearing in Lake Huron in the late 1930s, the parasite had spread to Lake Superior by the early 1950s. After testing thousands of chemicals, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service found a poison that eliminates the lamprey without affecting other fish. The catch consists mostly of whitefish, salmon, lake trout, chub, yellow perch, catfish, and carp. Sport fishing is now more important than commercial fishing on most of the Great Lakes.

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