Are common species worthy of conservation?

What happens when saving the few – in this case, a small number of plants or animals in a species at high risk of extinction – may harm the many – here, members of more common species? That’s a real problem as conservation experts and public land agencies wrestle with how to allocate scarce funds for habitat protection. A new study by scientists from the Nature Conservancy’s Michigan chapter and three universities says tradeoffs are necessary, based on their research of about 35 species of native migratory fish – some extremely rare, some extremely common — in the 1,833 largest tributaries of the Great Lakes.

A depiction of Fort Mackinac from the 1890 book, "A lake tour to picturesque Mackinac via the D & C."

Remembering the soldiers of Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island bustles with 850,000 to a million visitors annually. But for British and American soldiers stationed there from 1780 through 1895, the strategic but remote outpost could be a place of loneliness, spectacular beauty, harsh discipline, even death. A new book tells the stories of those who served there until 1895 when the only remaining squad “marched out of Fort Mackinac for the last time,” victims of Army skepticism about its military value and a national cost-cutting movement that closed many forts.

Sweet historical discoveries at maple sugaring camps

Archaeological research at four sites in the U.P.’s Hiawatha National Forest sheds new light on how Native Americans and French-Canadians made maple sugar in the late 1700s through late 1800s. Maple sugar was more than a mere commercial product for them, and the seasonal sugaring camps offers insights into social structure, diet and lifestyles, the archaeologists tell us.