Lake Tahoe Ecosystem

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  • Topic: Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Great Basin
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The Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystem

Alexis Goski

SCI/256

Sep 10, 2012

Shameema Sarker

The Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystem

During the last 140 years the ecosystem of the Lake Tahoe Basin has experienced multiple alterations. Just as many areas have been depleted or implemented signs of struggle after initial European settlement the Lake Tahoe basin’s ecosystem has been vastly affected by man. The precedent environment of Lake Tahoe’s basin may never be restored to its original condition; however efforts are being made toward its restoration.

The annual rate of precipitation, and elevational range once generated a strong foundation for a wide diversity of vegetation within the basin (University of Davis, Centers for Water and Wildlife Resources, 1996). The basin was once home to a plethora of wetlands, subalpine to alpine meadows, shrublands, coniferous, and riparian forests. Primarily the Lake Tahoe basin also incorporated 12 various orders of insects, six species of zooplankton, 8 kinds of fish, and numerous invertebrate species which has since been altered primarily due to landscape disruptions as well as the introduction of non-native elements (University of Nevada Reno, n.d).

Although lodgepole pine, red and white fir, incense cedar, Jeffery pine, and a number of native plant species remain within the Lake Tahoe basin their density as well as health has been reduced unequivocally. From 1859 through the late 1880s, the Comstock era, construction demands called upon the Great Basin area for timber, and other resources. Saw mills where erected, cutting spread from North shore to South shore, and loggers hauled nearly 33 million board feet to the surrounding areas. In 1883 Lord stated that the mines of the Comstock Lode are literally the tombs of the Sierra Nevada Forests (U.C. Davis, 1996).

The fierce...
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